It was nearly two decades ago that I first pursued the woman who would become my wife. She was beautiful and fun and wonderful, and I wanted her to be mine. So I bought her flowers, took her out for ice cream, wrote her poetry, and disregarded any other young man who was interested in her. They were just background noise. My focus was on pursuing her.
In much the same way, God is focused on pursuing individual people. He enters into our world, addresses the needs of our heart, and draws us to Himself. The Bible is full of examples, but I’ll just mention three of my favorites:
- Rahab. Have you ever thought about the story of Rahab? In Joshua, chapter 2, we learn that spies were sent into Jericho. But why were spies even necessary? Ultimately, the Israelites would march around Jericho for seven days and God would miraculously overthrow the city. There was no strategic value to spying on the city first. The only benefit that came from sending in the spies was that a prostitute named Rahab expressed her faith in God to them and they agreed to protect her when the city was overthrown. It was no coincidence. God set the stage for this woman’s rescue. He was pursuing her all along.
- The Ethiopian Eunuch. In the book of Acts we hear an amazing story about an African man placing his faith in Christ (see Acts 8:26-40). What makes the story so amazing, though, is how we see the hand of God at work. The Holy Spirit sent Philip to meet him in the middle of nowhere on a desert road. The Ethiopian man was reading from Isaiah 53 about the Messiah. And when it was time to be baptized there just happened to be water by the side of the road…in the desert! God was pursuing this man, and caught up with him when he was ready to respond.
- Paul, the apostle. Paul (whose Jewish name was Saul) is one of the most striking examples of God pursuing someone. In his religious zeal for God, Saul was actively attempting to crush the young church and eliminate all followers of Jesus. But God had a different plan. While Saul was on his way to Damascus, on a mission to arrest the believers, Jesus appeared to him and changed his life forever. God was not content to let Saul go. Despite Saul’s evil intentions (Acts 9:1), Jesus pursued reconciliation with him.
And while these stories are amazing, they’re not abnormal. God is always at work, drawing people to Himself. Have you seen God at work in your own life? How has He been pursuing you?
“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” – Psalm 23:6 (NLT)