I have heard people talk about their Christian lives and walk of faith as a ‘chasing after Jesus’. I admit, I love the way this sounds. I love the imagery it evokes in my mind. Yesterday though, as I pondered; I wondered how accurate a statement this really is.
Is Jesus running away from us? Is he hiding from us, so that we must continue searching?
I must admit this has not been my experience with Jesus.
If I had to describe my own spiritual journey, and if I were to attempt to describe it accurately…which I suppose I should probably do. I would say that my Christian life has not so much been one of ‘chasing after Jesus’ but one in which I alternate between jumping up into his loving arms…then pushing him away…only to long for the love and affection he gives, then running back into his arms. Repeat.
I read in the Scriptures of a God who pursues his children. I also read about a people who seems for the most part to turn away from this pursuing love. Finally, some realize this love, this affection, is what we’ve always wanted. We realize it is the most precious thing in all the world. We run to him, jump into his arms, embrace him, he embraces us…It’s a beautiful picture!
After a while, or a short time in many instances, we grow bored…or our relationship doesn’t seem to have the same spark. We see something out of the corner of our eyes that looks shiny. We push away from this love, and see what this shiny object looks like. We tell Jesus we’ll be back, or maybe we just run off without a word at all. Usually I think we probably imagine he isn’t paying attention and we’re just sneaking off…Only to find that this shiny object, while it may be fun for a time…there really isn’t that much to it. While it may be fun, or even a good time…It doesn’t offer us what Jesus does. It doesn’t offer us the love, affection, tenderness, and acceptance that Christ does. We long for what we we are missing. We run back to him, we jump back into his arms…he embraces us. Sometimes, we walk back slowly with our heads down and our hands in our pockets, ashamed at what we’ve done. Ashamed at our foolishness. Only to find that Jesus is running towards us with arms extended wide. We can’t believe that he still desires us, still longs for us. But he does. We finally realize this is where we belong.
Then we repeat this scenario again.
I think a huge part of the Christian life is our discovering that really, truly, honest to God, in the arms of Jesus is where we belong, and where he wants us. No matter how many times we screw up, and believe me, we screw up a lot, he still wants us. (If you think you don’t screw up, then please stop reading now and find another blog to read…this one isn’t for you. You are probably pretty ticked off at me already.) Even when we push him away, he still wants us. No matter how many times we push him away, he will still be waiting with arms wide open. We don’t chase after him, he pursues us.
Eventually we will understand this fully. Eventually we will rest completely content in his arms, and have no desire ever again to push away like an easily distracted child. Until then, there will be a lot of times of discontent, a lot of times of pushing away(many times we are pushing away even when we don’t realize it). There will also be a lot of times of running to him. Being embraced by him. Basking in his love, tenderness, and affection. These times are sweet. I wish all of us would stay here, in that place. But in my experience we seldom do. Maybe you do, maybe you can…Maybe you are more spiritual than me…
But that has not been my experience. I certainly rest in him more now than ever…I think. But I am not foolish enough to think I will always stay in this place. I know myself, and my tendency to sneak off and try to do something while I think he isn’t looking.
How foolish you say!
I agree. But I know me.
But even better, I am still getting to know the one whom always seems to have his loving arms extended.