The subtitle of my blog is "Reflections on Standing Still," and most of you dear readers know that God has been teaching (and continues to teach) me what it is to "Be still and know that I am God" (Ps. 46:10). I am learning to be still and wait for His voice; be still and watch Him fight on my behalf; just be still in an otherwise chaotic life. You know this because I've blogged about it.
But I'm not sure that I've every fully explained the title: Relentlessly Pursued. This recently came to light when a friend's husband spotted the title and said something along the lines of "Wow! She's bragging about beating back guys? Or that she want to be a women who does that?"
Wow indeed. Luckily, my friend knew the background of the title and quickly corrected his assumptions before he felt the need to alert my community group of my growing pride. Later, when she told me, I laughed--because nothing could be further from the truth, and let's just leave it at that.
The situation did, however, make me realize that I should clarify for you who is pursuing, who is being pursued, and why.
Back in 2007, when I started this blog, God had been walking me though my own Valley of Achor (or Trouble, Hos. 2) for several months. The man I thought I'd spend the rest of my life with and who I was planning a wedding with changed his mind and walked out of my life. His pursuit of me vanished, and his promises twisted into ashes that blew away faster than I could close my hands around them.
And I felt unlovely, betrayed, abandoned, unsure, and unwanted.
But God was there.
And as I began to read back over my journal entries, I saw it. That God was coming after me even there. He lead me to Hosea 2:14-20, part of which reads,
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her. And there will I give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.... And I will betroth you to Me forever. I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in steadfast love and in mercy. I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. And you shall know the LORD."
The words were sweet healing to my wounded heart. God would walk me tenderly through the valley to hope, and He would not change His mind. He would (and had already) asked me to be His bride, and He would not relent. His love would be steadfast.
During that season, God continued to pursue me through His Word, through His Spirit, through the friends and family He encircled me with, through the flowers He sent me, and through the new dreams He gave me--both a non-fiction piece and my first fiction project Steadfast, to name two, came out of that season.
And as I look back on that time now, I see that His pursuit has only continued, even during the "silence" last year when I felt so alone. I see now that He was gently saying, "I'm here. I haven't left you. Do you still doubt me? My promises do not fail."
It is a pursuit that began when I was born two months early with a heart defect, continued on in my physical healing when I was young, and pushed into that small first and second grade Sunday School classroom where He first whispered my name and opened my eyes.
He is the Relentless Pursuer.
Before the foundation of the world, He knew who would be His, and He has stopped at nothing to make them His. Don't we see this in the Old Testament as He comes after his rebellious children again and again? Don't we see it as He put on flesh, came to earth, and died on the cross to redeem us? For those that belong to Him, we know He came after us when we were running in the opposite direction, and He did so because of His great love. And the pursuit doesn't stop there--for we are still prone to wander, as Robert Robinson wrote.
Most importantly, I know Him as the Relentless Pursuer because His Word teaches us that "God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners;" that "even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes;" that "God is so rich in mercy, and He loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, He gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) (Romans 5:8; Ephesians 1:4, 2:4-5, NLT).
The gospel displays God's relentless pursuit of us, and my life testifies to it.
Being relentlessly pursued has made all the difference.