The Footsteps that Follow After
I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the mist of tears I hid from Him, and under running laughter.
Up vistaed hopes I sped and shot precipitated
Adown titanic glooms of chasm-ed fears
From those strong
Feet that followed, followed after.
– from The Hound of Heaven (Francis Thompson)
There are times when a certain lie invades our minds. It is full of deceit and rebellion. It can be subtle or blatant. It is always steeped in pride and arrogance.
“I got this.”
“I can make this happen.”
“This is in my control.”
“God doesn’t care about this part of my life; I don’t need His help.”
When we think any of these things, we’ve taken the bait, bought the lie.
We think we can handle life apart from God.
This craving for independence has existed since the fall when Adam and Eve chose to rebel against God’s directive to not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They sinned and then chose to hide. Did they actually think God didn’t know? He didn’t see them? And yet, their Loving Creator meets them in the midst of their sin. “Where are you?” He calls out (Gen. 3:9). Knowing full well where they were and what they had done, He lovingly pursues them in order to restore them.
Just like with Adam and Eve, God is in constant pursuit of you.
God pursues you in your pain, in your disobedience, in your doubt and questioning, in your joy, in your heartbreak, in your worry, in your worship of Him. There is never a time when God is not pursuing you. He is jealous for you. Even when you are running hard away from Him, He is following after you.
God goes to great lengths to lovingly bring us back to Himself when we go our own way. Sadly that often means painful discipline and sometimes allowing us to hit rock bottom before we see our utter despair. The prodigal son, indeed, scraped bottom before realizing what he needed to do. What’s lower than longing to eat pig slop?
Or how about Jonah trying to flee from God? It took being swallowed by a fish to get his attention.
But Scripture also tells us “it is his kindness that leads us to repentance” (Rom. 2:4). His mercy overwhelms us when we realize that we do not get what we truly deserve. This is grace. Amazing, wonderful, unbelievable grace.
And with that grace comes an amazing blessing—there is no requirement to turn back to the Lord when we have run away from Him. It is only that we simply turn. We turn to Him acknowledging our sin and need for forgiveness. We realize He is the only solution. His arms remain outstretched ready to embrace us like the father of the prodigal son.
Today are you running away from God? Have you been deceived? Have you decided you can handle life without Him? Stop for a moment and listen. If you are still long enough you will hear the sound of those strong feet following after you. Turn back and see a Loving Father who is running hard after you. He stands ready to embrace and forgive you and place you back on the path of obedience and true peace.