My name is Lindsay. I am 22 years old, and I have never really felt pursued. Until this week.
Now before you get all excited and think, “Oh my gosh, Lindsay has a boyfriend?!” let me stop you. This goes beyond romantic girl-guys things. This is more all-encompassing. This is about all relationships: friends, family, romantic, spiritual.
If you know me very well, you know I enjoy pursuing other people. I like to keep up with my friends far away. I Skype a few people each week so I can hear how their life going, what God is teaching them, what fun things they’ve been up to. I’ve been arranging friend dates like a mad woman trying to get to know as many people in homegroup as possible.
But because, or maybe in spite of, this, I myself often do not feel pursued. Part of me knows this is because I am the only person (besides Amy Brachmann, probably) who keeps lists of people to Skype and check in on. I’m weird; I realize I’m freakishly diligent. But at the same time, I have often felt that only one or two people in my life diligently pursue me. I often feel that people never make plans with me; I always make plans with them. I initiate phone calls. I initiate after-school, “How was your day?”s. It often feels that people don’t care about me as much as I care about them. This is one of my biggest fears.
And for the most part, I know this feel is an unreasonable lie from the enemy, created to make me feel alone and unloved. But honestly, in some cases it’s true. Sometimes I care about maintaining a friendship more than the other person, and sometimes that ends badly. So I’ve been hurt there a few times. It’s not a lie all the time.
Over the past week or two, I realized that I have been feeling very similarly about God. I have felt unpursued (is that even a word?) by God. It seems like God has been showing up in cool ways in the lives of all my friends; he speaks with them and guides them so directly. My friends have experienced God in tangible ways that I haven’t. And I wonder why. Is it because a lot of my friends are broken? Is it because they have gaping emotional wounds that I have been blessed enough to avoid? Am I missing out of God because he’s attending to those who are bleeding out, those who “need him more” than I do? All I’ve got is some stress, control issues and other minor struggles. I’m not depressed; I didn’t have a messed up childhood. Is that why God isn’t pursuing me?
I have identified with the other, non-prodigal, brother in the story of the prodigal son. The younger sons gets himself in a mess, in a pit, and the father throws him a huge party. The older son faithfully serves his father and receives no party. (Don’t get me wrong, I have been unfaithful to Jesus as times, but I have been following him in some sort of fashion since I was a small child; I can identify with the older brother, but I’m not perfect.) And the father tells the son “everything he has is his,” but I haven’t been feeling that. I’ve just felt unattended to. Like I’m in the ER with a broken finger, and the nurse adds me to the end of the list because the doctors are too busy dealing with the people who were just saved from a life-threatening car wreck. I’m stable and can wait.
Jesus, I know my problems are relatively small, but I want more of you. I want to see and hear you. Can I have more you without more pain? Can I see you work in my life? Can I feel your presence around me?
The good news is this: once I was able to sort through these emotions and examine why I was feeling the way I am over the past two weeks, my eyes were opened to the truth: God is, in fact, pursuing me. He’s pursuing me big time.
In homegroup on Thursday we talked about being disciplined in our quiet times with Jesus. I’ve been asking for God to give me a desire to spend more consistent time with him for months, but the desire hadn’t come. Months (literally) of me praying “set a fire in my soul” had no fruit to show. I was frustrated. I wanted to want to spend time with Jesus, but something was missing — the realization that God wants to spend time with me more than I could ever want to spend time with him. For once in my life, someone actually cares about me more than I care about them! Yes, that sounds bad, like I don’t care about God, but the point is we can never care for God more than he cares about us! Mind blown. Fears crushed.
Our homegroup leader, Barclay, shared some scripture to illustrate exactly how much God loves us. He painted a picture of Jesus waiting for us outside to take us on a date. We take his breath away when he sees us. His heart pounds and his thoughts are consumed by us. He’s pursuing us! He wants to romance us! All we have to do is let him!
This inspired me to read Song of Songs for the first time in my life. Dang. That is a powerful book.
“My dove in the clefts of the rock, in the hiding places on the mountainside, show me your face, let me hear your voice; for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely.”
Song of Songs 2:14
Jesus wants to see me and hear my voice. He wants me to come out and meet him.
“All beautiful you are, my darling; there is no flaw in you.”
Song of Songs 4:7
I am perfectly beautiful in his eyes.
“You have stolen my heart, my sister, my bride; you have stolen my heart with one glance of your eyes, with one jewel of your necklace. How delightful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much more pleasing is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your perfume than any spice.”
Song of Songs 4:9-10
He is enraptured with me. He is enamored. Head-over-heels, crazy in love with me personally. He finds our specific relationship delightful and pleasing.
“Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm; for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away.”
Song of Songs 8:6-7a
His love for me, Lindsay, is stronger than anything: death, fire, water. Anything.
God has been faithful to carry this message throughout the rest of this weekend. Friday night we listened to a talk at CSHOP about how much God “likes” us (hint: it’s a lot more than like!). Saturday I spent some time delving into the word as God revealed more scripture to me describing his love. This morning I felt that worship was, again, echoing the same sentiment.
“No one else can love you like you love me, Lord, for I was made unique in your eyes.”
“All my delight is in you, Lord.”
“There is no one else for me, none but Jesus.”
And so as I realize that God is pursuing me, I realize all I have to do it ask God for more of him, and he will come. I don’t need to be “more broken.” I don’t need to run away and squander everything for him to love me. He’s already here waiting to take me away into his garden. He won’t relent.