My friend and I were walking down the road one day.
We saw an orange and black caterpillar wiggling its way towards the centre of the road, surely to be run over by oncoming vehicles.
This caterpillar was shuffling along confidently the wrong way. Everything seemed just fine as far as caterpillar life goes. This little fella’ was moving in the way it always does – by squeezing muscles in sequence in an undulating wave motion and minding its own business. It was moving quickly, totally unaware of the dangers ahead.
With great compassion and patience, Carolyn positioned her feet in such a way as to gently create an alternate path back to safely for the caterpillar. She stayed with that caterpillar until its journey ended in the tall, protective grasses at the side of the road.
As I stood and watched Carolyn, I couldn’t help but see a parallel story about God’s love and His guidance in helping each of us forge a new way . . . if we cooperate. There’s no forcing or pushing us into obedience.
Carolyn didn’t demand that the caterpillar change its ways – it could have crawled over her shoes or retraced its movement. Instead, Carolyn patiently and intentionally created a new way for the caterpillar to follow and in doing so, provided refuge, rather then wreckage for the little guy.
There is such freedom in obedience. That’s what we have in Jesus – freedom. He woos us to Himself and we are most fulfilled when we follow His way.
The entire Bible from Genesis 3 to Revelation 22:21 is a record of God’s passionate pursuit of our hearts. He reveals Himself as a seeker. He scans the earth from heaven (Psalm 14.2) looking for people who understand. His eyes run to and fro throughout the planet to find those whose hearts are committed to Him. (2 Chronicles 16.9) Jesus tells us that He has come to seek. (Luke 19:10).
Consider His love for and pursuit of us. He compares Himself with a shepherd who leaves 99 sheep to seek the one lost (Luke 15:4-7) and with a woman combing through her entire house on the search for a lost coin (Luke 15:8-10). He speaks of Himself as the father who incessantly scans the horizon for the return of the prodigal son ((Luke 15:20), and with a merchant seeking fine pearls (Mt 13:45-46).
God is on a quest.
From God’s first question, “Where are you?” (Genesis 3.8,9) until Jesus’ final words, “It is finished,” (John 19.30) we see God drawing us to Himself with ties of love (Hosea 11:4). We’ve wiggled and wrangled, trying to break away and go our own way, but He persists and draws us in again.
That’s what I call passionate pursuit.
Without question, I have learned and experienced that His ways are best. I want to follow His path and no other.
Jesus said, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them.” John 6:44 NIV).