When I was in high school we had this cat we called Bozo. He was I think the third of three generations of a line that we had. We called him Bozo because he had this strange marking on his face and it made him look goofy. He was huge too … not fat, but thick. I used to say he was a football player cat. The fact that he was big and looked kinda dopey fortified our naming choice. I guess when you’re in high school that qualifies for logic and reason in naming a pet. He was the greatest cat, though, and most times didn’t behave like a cat, or at least a stereotypical one. Most of the time, we have this impression of cats as critters who couldn’t care less about us. They’re indifferent. They’re their own creature, and they’re going to do their own thing.
But not Bozo. This was the coolest, most loving cat ever. Actually, to a bit of a fault. You see, he was so loving that he would come over and rub against your body until you picked him up and pet him or let him sit in your lap. He would rub he face on you … with a wet nose, to boot … and purr and paw. Great stuff … unless it was in the middle of the night and you were sleeping. I remember, I would toss him off the bed, and he’d jump back up. I would (figuratively) throw him and yell at him to leave me alone so I could sleep. He would jump back up and purr as though you were showing him the love back. You could theoretically do anything to this cat, and he would come right back and show you unconditional love. It was like he was in an endless pursuit of showing his love for you.
This week, my reading went through Psalms 10-15 and Proverbs 2. At the same time, I’ve been reading a couple other things that struck a chord in me. On top of that, Helen and I just started a study called “Rooted” with a group of friends. A variety of inputs combined with the way this week’s passage hit me led me to dive deeper into this concept of God’s endless pursuit. As sometimes happens with me, not totally on point, but still able to stimulate some reflection to share … Psalms 12:5-8 …
The Lord replies, “I have seen violence done to the helpless, and I have heard the groans of the poor. Now I will rise up to rescue them, as they have longed for me to do.” The Lord’s promises are pure, like silver refined in a furnace, purified seven times over. Therefore, Lord, we know you will protect the oppressed, preserving them forever from this lying generation, even though the wicked strut about, and evil is praised throughout the land.
When I read this passage, I was struck by the notion that God reminds us that He hears us. Not just that, but He acts on our behalf … He responds to our need. We’re told “The Lord’s promises are pure …” Pure. Unadulterated. Unmixed. Unconditional. Unmoved. Unaffected by our unworthiness. God is always at the ready to protect His people. To save them. If you’re part of this “lying generation” or “the wicked” … if you turn and repent and seek out God … He’s always there and He’s ready to receive and forgive. He’s in endless pursuit.
One of the most unique and significant things about Christianity is that despite that God knows us and knows ALL about us, He longs for relationship with us. He pursues us; He doesn’t set us aside. Other religions tell us to pursue God without any notion that He pursues back or even cares whether we do. They put the onus on us to do and be something to try to attract God’s love, forgiveness, acceptance, and mercy.
Or, they tell us to pursue ourselves. That somehow we are able to support ourselves and carry on through life without God, that there’s no need for Him in the first place. They might tell us to pursue some blind or nondescript thing … like experience, or science, or “truth,” which then they let you define on your own.
But God tells us that He hears us, He takes action on our behalf. He says that whether or not we pursue Him, He’ll pursue us. He’ll keep coming, keep staying open, keep staying loving to us. Even when we show nothing but indifference, indolence, and disinterest. Even if we’ve cursed Him all our lives. Even if we’ve disregarded, disrespected, and dishonored Him. No matter what we’ve done, He stands at the ready to wrap us in His arms if we just respond to His endless pursuit.
It’s sort of like our old cat, Bozo. No matter what I did to that cat in my midnight (or later) frustration, he kept coming back over and over and over. Just to show me some love, and to receive some love in return.
I fathom most of us have pasts that we aren’t proud of. Perhaps in small or relatively minor ways, or perhaps in some bigger ones. I think back often to many – innumerably many – things I did throughout life and wish someway that God could or would erase the “tape” of my memory in those circumstances. Alas, He doesn’t, although I guess for all sorts of varied reasons. But some of us may have done things that not only we think deplorable, but that society considers deplorable. Or even the other way around. But what makes Christianity different is … Christ. In this I mean that when He died on the cross He died for every sin we’ve ever committed or ever will commit. And yet … He still went to the cross. And yet … He pursues.
God knows everything about us. Everything. Seriously … everything. Think about that for a moment and contemplate further the FACT that He still pursues. He’s in endless pursuit, at least while we’re alive on this earth.
Is there an aspect of your life, past or present, that keeps you from pursuing God? Do you think you’ve moved too far away and can’t go back? Do you think there’s too much baggage you have that He could never “approve” of? In that sense, you’re right. He doesn’t approve of it. But that doesn’t mean He hasn’t been pursuing you all along. YOU. ME. US. The amazing thing about the God of Christianity … of Jesus Christ … is that all we need to do is turn around. We’ll see that He’s been pursuing all along. When it comes to God’s love for us, he’s always in endless pursuit.
Soli Deo gloria!