|Tenderly…by M. Lewis
Warning: Subject change…although, the more I think about it, maybe not such a drastic one. The more I think about this, the more I see this fit into this whole theme of discipleship I have been considering.
I am pondering the word “pursue” and what it means to pursue God. This was the charge from my church’s team meeting this week. Of course, the first place I went to begin this journey was my trusty dictionary app. Man, I love that app! 🙂
Anyway, I know it’s not the best “blogging etiquette” to quote the dictionary, but I’m just going to throw etiquette out the window and do it anyway! It lays the foundation for what I want to say, and helps me form a mental picture of what it means to pursue God. So, what does the dictionary say about the word “pursue”:
to follow close upon; go with; attend; to strive to gain; seek to attain or accomplish (an end, object,purpose, etc.); to carry on or continue (a course of action, a train of thought, studies, etc.); to follow; to chase after someone or something
Synonyms of note: go after, seek, attend, hound, hunt, persevere, persist, shadow, tail, track, give chase, run after, search for, search out
I think it is worth noting at the outset that we pursue God only because He has pursued us first. That must be the starting point. 1 John 4 says “We love because He first loved us”. God is the initiator – He is the pursuer and we are the pursued. But just like in any good relationship, mutual pursuit begins to take shape as experience and affection deepen. We begin to long for Him, to seek Him, first in response to His initiation; but then because He starts to become the ultimate object of our deepest desires and hopes as we discover how truly wonderful He is.
That sounds so mushy, doesn’t it? I don’t mean it to sound “romantic” – but I do mean for it to sound passionate. Because that is what pursuit is all about. Passion. If you are passionate about something (or someone), you will pursue that thing or that person. You will desire to know more, spend more time, more resources, more of yourself – all for the sake of that thing or that person. Should it not be so with God? He is, after all, the highest, purest, most majestic, most beautiful. He is above all; there is nothing higher than He.
This was the language of the psalmists, especially David. “Lord, I long for You…I desire You…I thirst for You…my soul pants for You” (Ps. 42, 63, 73, 84, 107, 119, 143). Nothing can satiate the appetite of our souls except God Himself. He is our supreme pursuit.
I used to think this could only be done in certain ways – darkened sanctuary, eyes closed, hands held high, singing glorious praise songs to our Lord. Or, in the quiet of the prayer closet, candle lit, head bowed (or better yet, on bended knee or prostrate) with tears streaming down my cheeks pouring down. I felt oddly inadequate – these moments do happen to me, when I am moved to tears, so awestruck I cannot utter a single word. Or my words come out in an unintelligible mess only God can understand (thank You, Holy Spirit) for all my sobbing. But this is not a daily occurrence – or even weekly occurrence.
Where does that pursuit happen for people like me? Where does God meet me, speak to my soul, lift my heart, put me to rest and make me feel secure in His arms?
When I am gazing at a beautiful sunset.
When I am walking through a complicated theological concept.
When I am reading, or writing about what I have read.
When I am talking to someone and I “happen” to say exactly what was needed in that moment.
In the assuring voice of a friend speaking life into a place in my life that only me and the Lord knew about.
When I am writing about Him, sharing what I have learned or experienced as I walk with Him.
In those moments, everyday, in a million different ways, God reaches down and touches my heart and soul in a way that only He knows is perfectly crafted for me. His deep knowing of me pulls me in and moves me follow. If I take the time to pay attention, I will sense His pursuit in every corner of my life. And His pursuit of me only causes me to want to pursue Him more.
Full disclosure: there are times when I don’t feel the pursuit; where God seems distant or absent. Some have called this the “dark night of the soul”. I call it a desert. A dry, barren wasteland. The words above pour out of a heart that has been in this wasteland for at least eight years and is finally feeling the fresh water of God’s Spirit saturating me anew. So if it seems as though I am gushing (no pun intended…sorry!), it is because I am! He carried me through the desert and is now beginning to pull back the current to show me the reasons why.
I am convinced the first reason was to demonstrate to me that this pursuit is going to look differently for everyone. There is no cookie cutter, 10-steps to pursuing God plan that fits everyone. And while there are spiritual disciplines that are beneficial for all believers, how we go about practicing those disciplines will look differently for each of us.
I know this all circles back to discipleship…and at some point I will get to that. But I’ll leave it here for now and pick up my thoughts (wherever they happen to wander…wink) later.
Until then,..grace and peace…