When my pastor introduced his message by holding up His Bible and saying that the collection of 66 books was the story of God’s desire for and pursuit of relationship with us, it wasn’t news to me. Intellectually, I already understood that the Lord desires fellowship with His children. But for some reason that particular Sunday morning, the pastor’s reminder of this truth made the long 18” journey from my head to my heart. The Bible is not about man’s desire for fellowship with God, but rather it’s the other way around. God’s Word is about His never-ending, unrelenting love for us and His longing for relationship with us. It struck me how incredibly amazing it is that the Creator of the Universe would do whatever it takes to be with little old me!
God demonstrates His relentless pursuit of relationship with His people all throughout the Bible. Early on, the Lord gives the law that will help His people stay faithful and blameless before Him, tabernacles with them and guides them to the Promised Land. Then He takes His people back over and over again even after they turn from Him, worship other gods and ignore the warnings of the prophets. Finally, the Father’s love for us culminates in sending His own son to die for us so that those of us who believe on Him will experience the joy of spending eternity with Him.
It’s hard to imagine that given mankind’s history of rejecting God, His laws, His prophets and even His own son, He readily forgives us. Rather than cursing and destroying those who beat, humiliated and murdered Him, Jesus said “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34, ESV). Jesus not only forgave us but also loved us even as He was dying on a cross. As Scripture explains, ”God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).
Despite man’s stumbling and miserable failure, when we sin all God asks for is sincere repentance and His arms open wide to us once again:
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9, NIV)
I praise God for the mercy, grace and long suffering He has shown me! During my years of drinking and partying when I turned my back on the Lord, I still sensed His Spirit upon me, convicting me and calling me to return to His loving arms until at last I relented. When I look back on my walk with God thus far, it is clear that He has never left me. Even when I wasn’t walking with Him but rather running in the opposite direction, He still protected me and gave me His grace.
I often pray that the Lord would never let me go back to being the person I once was. I pray for Him to never leave me and to always have His hand upon me because I don’t trust myself to stay on the straight and narrow on my own. The Lord is faithful in this, for as He promised “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). What’s interesting to me now is that there are times I wish His pull on my heart wouldn’t be so strong. When I don’t want to do something He wants me to do or when I’m considering doing something that requires a leap of faith and I want to forget about it, He still won’t let me go. Nevertheless, even when I drag my feet He is patient with me and gives me yet another chance to do what He’s calling me to do.
Beloved Warriors, we serve an awesome God who would do anything to be in relationship with you! Will you have Him? Maybe you’re in need of forgiveness, or you just need a reminder that despite any evidence to the contrary you have a Maker who loves you and who will never EVER stop loving you. If so, I pray that you’ll once again forgive me for borrowing my prayer for you from the Apostle Paul:
And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:17b-19, NIV; emphasis mine).
Along with the band Big Daddy Weave, I’m Overwhelmed by Him!