PC: Dabin Gweon
Pursue– what a beautiful word. As I sit here with so many thoughts in my head, I’m struggling to figure out how to start this blog. This word, “pursue,” just has so much power. It’s the word used to describe the way we chase after friends, family, potential spouses, careers, and all the other things that we go after in life. But more persistent than any of the things we chase after in this world is a pursuit that starts way before we even know- God chasing after us.
In Hebrew, the word “radaph” means “to pursue, run after, or chase” and if you want a more connotative meaning- “to hunt you down.” It’s used in the Hebrew text of Psalm 23:6 when describing the way God’s goodness and mercy follows us, but honestly the word’s grandness isn’t even fully captivated in most of our English translations. It feels softened and limited. God literally hunts us down , and pursues us with His goodness and mercy. God’s goodness and mercy chases us so that we come to Him. He “radaphs” us!
Maybe it’s cause I’ve never been in a relationship and don’t know what it means or feels like to be pursued. But as a young woman, understanding there’s a God that pursues each of us without ever being pursued in this world can be a little challenging. It makes me wonder sometimes, why me? I wonder how anyone, especially the Lord sees me as “pursuable” (is that even a real word?). Whenever these thoughts come to my mind, instantaneously the devil begins to whisper lies into my heart about my worth, shame, and guilt. He tries to distract me from the grace and redemption I’ve found in the Lord.
I have to remind myself through Scripture and prayer of the nature of God- He’s a Shepherd that goes after the one lost sheep. He’s a Father that runs to the prodigal son when he returns. He’s a God that sent His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross so that He can spend eternity with all that believe. Currently, one of my favorite songs is Hillsong’s “What a Beautiful Name.” In one of the verses it talks about how “[God] didn’t want heaven without us. So Jesus, [He] brought heaven down. [Our] sin was great, [but His] love was greater, what could separate us now…”and this verse just (as cheesy as it sounds), speaks to my soul. God pursues us with His goodness and mercy so we return to Him because He loves us so much that He wants to be with us forever.
Lately, I’ve really been struggling to understand this concept. This idea that God is constantly pursuing me. It feels like my head knows, but my heart just isn’t getting it. In this seasons, the Lord has been teaching me one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned this year through a story from the Old Testament. This story isn’t one with a lot of glamour and glitz. It’s one filled with hurt and betrayal, but also contains so much grace, compassion, and mercy- the story of Hosea and Gomer. A quick overview of the story- Hosea is a prophet and God wants him to marry an adulterous woman, Gomer. This whole story, especially their marriage and relationship, reflects the relationship between God and the people of Israel. Even as Gomer continues to be involved in other matters outside of her marriage, Hosea continually pursues her. He goes to the extent of buying her back, even though she is his wife, which just shows how he wasn’t ever going to let her go, no matter what she did.
For me personally, the story of Hosea and Gomer is a perfect example of how God faithfully pursues my heart. God continues to come after us like Hosea went after Gomer each time she went a different direction. God even brought back our lives, which was something which was His since the beginning by sending Jesus to pay the price for our sin so we could have Eternity. Isn’t that the sweetest? All my sappy romantics out there (just like me) should be getting butterflies in your tummies by now. Have you heard of any other story that has this kind of love, mercy, and grace laced in and around it?
This idea of how God’s pursuit after our hearts reminds me of the love God truly has for us. In 1 John 4: 9-10, the explanation of how God’s love doesn’t depend or rely on our love for Him blows my mind…like what? He continues to pursue us with His love even when we’re not pursuing Him. That’s definitely something not of us this world. Just think about it- if you’re in a friendship and it feels like you’re doing all the work and the other person doesn’t even put in any effort, wouldn’t you at some point begin to get a little upset? But our God doesn’t! Just like in the story of Hosea and Gomer, as we continually are unfaithful to God like how Gomer was and God continues to be like Hosea and love us even when we really don’t deserve it!
With all this being said, I want to encourage you. Many of my friends and myself have been going through a season where it feels like we’ve been talking about the Lord a lot, but not really talking to Him anywhere near as much as we should. I hope you realize that yes we are called to pour into others and share the Good News, but we ourselves have to be poured into first. God since the beginning of time and to this day continues to chase after you and me. For me, since I haven’t been spending time with Him like I should be, it feels like my relationships with Him is more like a long distant friend you only talk to on holidays than a best friend that I pour my heart out to. If this sounds familiar for you, know that it’s dangerous. It’s dangerous because this is an opportunity the devil takes and turns into guilt by speaking lies into our heart and making us feel shameful, to even keep us from sitting down and spending time with the Lord.
HOWEVER, because the gift of God’s unconditional love, He will always take you back. I mean He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for you. I’m thankful to know that I have a God that doesn’t hold grudges or hold anything over my head. So remember, God loves you. It doesn’t matter what you say or do cannot make Him love you anymore or any less, He is after your heart. He longs for us to return to Him and even when we are walking away from Him, He’s still after us. So what’s your next step? As God pursues you, are you going to run to Him and sit at His feet or continue running away? Whichever one you decide, that doesn’t change the fact that God will continue to pursue and love you because you belong to Him!