The past couple of weeks we’ve been singing a beautiful song at our church by Cory Asbury; the words in the bridge of the song go like this:
‘There’s no shadow You won’t light up
Mountain You won’t climb up
Coming after me
There’s no wall You won’t kick down
No lie You won’t tear down
Coming after me’
This week God has shown me the reality of this song.
As I write this, my eldest son, who has been living in South Africa for the last few years, is flying to the USA. Today is Thursday; Rory will have a very long lay-over in Heathrow Airport en-route to The States, so on Monday, when we were chatting on the phone, we thought it would be a lovely idea if I could get one of those last minute, super-cheap flights you always hear about, across that body of water that separates Northern Ireland from mainland UK. Just imagine, a few hours with my son who I haven’t seen for 2 years!!
Well…I tried every airline. I spent hours searching. Nothing. There were absolutely no flights that didn’t cost hundreds of pounds – just to fly (as the crow flies) 519 miles.
After 2 days of trying, searching, asking and eventually pleading with God like a crazy woman to make a way, I finally realised that this was one of this occasions that I was going to have to accept that just maybe, The Lord was saying no.
Last night, as Rory’s flight was departing from Johannesburg, I was at church in Northern Ireland.
The worship was just about to begin. My heart felt so heavy. I’d accepted that I wasn’t going to be able to go and spend time with my son, but my heart ached with the need to see him, spend some quality time with him – give him a hug! I haven’t been able to hug him for 2 years!
Suddenly as I sat there waiting for the first chords of the musical instruments to start up, I felt the comforting presence of God, so near to me. I thought about how, the last couple of days I had literally tried to move heaven and earth just to get to my son – and I felt the still small voice of God, whisper into my heart “remember that ache you feel right at this moment; because it’s only a glimmer of how I feel about time with you.”
I realised 2 things in that moment:
1. I will never, probably until I’m in heaven, fully comprehend the extent of God’s love! Every time I think “ok I think I get it now”, He shows something new. How incredible it is that God longs for time with little old me.
2. Anything or anyone that overshadows God in our hearts – anything we spend more time on or thinking about – is an idol. I had wasted so much precious time – literally a whole day on Monday and a few hours on Tuesday, searching for flights; time that belongs rightfully to God.
God is Jealous a God
Exodus 20:5 says that God is a jealous God. When we use the word “jealous,” it’s usually in the sense of being envious of someone who has something we don’t have. It’s important to understand how the word “jealous” is used when describing the nature of God.
Exodus 20:4–5 “You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea. You must not bow down to them or worship them, for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God who will not tolerate your affection for any other gods”
It’s not that God’s love is a petty, possessive jealous love that simply says “you’re mine therefore no one else can have you”. It’s the passionate, loving, warm, kind, abundantly gracious love of a perfect Father. And He yearns to connect with you, His child.
There’s no one in this whole world who loves you or knows you the way the way your Father God does. To have just a glimpse of how he feels about you, read through all of Psalm 139, but here’s just a taste: Psalm 139:17,18: “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!”
He Pursues a Relationship with Us
I often think of this story in Luke 15
What a picture of our Shepherd King; the God who chases humanity down and rejoices when the lost sheep is found.
The God of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, loves us in spite of ourselves and our waywardness, our sin, our efforts, our failures, our messes our crazy mixed up theological ideas.
“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
This word translated as ‘follow’ in English sounds so ‘tame’ when you look the word up in the original language! The word used means to ‘hunt down’, to ‘pursue relentlessly’. It’s usually used to describe the hostile actions of enemies, who just will not let go, and keep chasing after. This is the only place in the Old Testament where it’s used outside it’s normal context – in a positive way, to describe God’s goodness and mercy, ‘doggedly’ pursuing you, never letting go.
Why? Because He loves you beyond measure and longs for your whole, undivided heart, and mine.