(noun) The act of following with a view to overtake. [source: Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary]
As I sit and ponder this word, I think about God’s pursuit of his most prized creation – mankind – set apart, blessed, appointed, given a promise upon creation. From the beginning of time, God has pursued His children’s hearts. After the fall, in Genesis 3 verse 8, God is wandering amidst the garden “in the cool of the day” and Adam and Eve “hid themselves from the presence of the LORD.” The beauty of this story is in verse 9, “Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, ‘Where are you?'”
Does that not give you hope, friend? You can be in the deepest pit of shame and disbelief and fear and God is still there and He is still pursuing you and He still loves you! Can you not hear the deep passion, fatherly care, and concern in that moment? Adam and Eve are in a dark place, and God is calling out, “Where are you?”
When I was 18, I ended up in the wrong place at the wrong time. I put myself in a vulnerable position and I was taken advantage of and then left to attempt to pick up the pieces. It wouldn’t be for several more years that I’d even come to terms with what happened to me.
The next ten years from age 18-28 were a blur to me – living two lives, the “goody two-shoes” girl who was perfect and loved God and did good things for church and hung out with her Christian friends, graduating from college, moving into adulthood, beginning graduate school… Then there was the other girl – lost, searching, poor choices, relationships gone bad, a broken engagement (actually, I feel very blessed on that one because I now have a different guy – an amazing husband!), a calling from God that I misinterpreted, discontentment, anger, same gender attraction struggles, and a life of sheer confusion. Death was hot on my trail during this time, dreams of death haunted me, death demons chased me, sat on my chest trying to strangle me, and I regularly had an internal dialogue with death, questioning many things about my life.
And yet, amidst all of that, there was this still, small Voice inside of me pursuing my heart saying, “I love you, my Sarah. I knit you in your mother’s womb, I know your thoughts before they are even formed… where are you?” (Psalm 139:13,2; Gen, 3:9)
On March 28, 2015, after years of dragging around what was practically my corpse of a body, I dropped myself at the feet of Jesus and answered that Voice, “I heard Your voice and I was afraid… So I hid.” (Gen. 3:10a,c)
He answered, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. I so loved you, Sarah, that I gave My son Jesus for you, that you would NOT DIE and could have eternal life if you’d believe.”(John 3:16)
“Wait,” I paused, “… Not die?” [when death pursues you for ten years, this news is quite refreshing! My interest was piqued!]
He answered patiently and lovingly, “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord, and believe in your heart that I raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”(Romans 10:9)
It made sense finally, all those years that the still, small Voice was calling out to me asking me where I was, were years in which God pursued my heart unabandoned.
“Oh, God!” I cried out, tears streaming down my cheeks, “Take this pain from me! It hurts so deeply, Father! God, I believe! I believe it! I understand it! Please, God, cleanse me from my sins and come send Your Spirit to live inside me!” Suddenly, my corpse gained strength and I felt my body fill with life and love and peace and joy. The tears continued to stream down my face as a smile came upon my mouth. I stood up and knew it was gone. I exclaimed, “Oh, death! Where is your victory? Oh, death, where is your sting? Thanks be to God! He gives me victory through my Lord Jesus Christ!”(1 Cor. 15:55,57)
My life since then has not been perfect, nor has it been easy! It is a constant surrender of my flesh – those things that I like to do, but should not do because they do not glorify God. I surrender those fleshly things for what God wants for me. I know this though: “In all things, God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)
Be pursued, my friends. If you have never surrendered to God’s pursuit, I encourage you to do so today. He’s waiting. He’s wanting, He’s with you – even when you are in your darkest place. God loves you so very much. He’s calling you, “Where are you?”