I am not convinced that the omnipresent God is actively pursuing lost and chronic sinners. I’ve listened to a lot of well-intentioned artists sing of a God who will knock over obstacles and climb any mountain just to be with us. I think that’s only true if we are the one to make the first move.

In the Gospel of Matthew we see Jesus encounter a rich young ruler who seemed interested in following Jesus, but when it got down to brass tacks, the young man walked away from eternal life. Did Jesus follow him? Did he run after him and try to change the boy’s mind? No.

Why?

The answer is because of free will. Free will is the beauty of Christianity and also the crux on which it stands. Jesus doesn’t and never will make anyone love and follow Him. What kind of relationship would it be if He did? If someone were to tell you that you had to love them and devote your whole life to them “because I said so, or else!” what kind of nurturing relationship is that? It’s not a true, deep love. Likewise, if Jesus told us we had no choice but to love and follow Him, that would make Him a dictator, of which He is certainly not.

He’s a loving, patient Savior who waits with anticipation for us to call out when we need Him. But, the sobering reality is Jesus does not need us.

Before I lose you here and your self-worth plummets beyond healthy levels, it’s important for us to realize the soveriegnty, power and love of almighty God. His plans will be fulfilled whether we carry them out or not. His power cannot be contained. His infallible and resplendent love for us is more magnificent than we could ever understand, even if we do absolutely nothing. Remember grace?

So, I just have to believe that God is not chasing after those who have no interest in following Him back, and I certainly don’t think He’s throwing his pearls at people who have heard about His redeeming grace, but decided it wasn’t worth giving up their riches for. He wants us to love him, but he just won’t coerce us into a relationship with Him. He isn’t the one to follow us like a puppy hoping for some of our attention. We are to be the ones to follow behind Him.

We are the ones who need to draw near to God, and He will draw near to us. He’s always there and never a second late when we call upon Him for help or comfort. He’s the Good Shepherd that will come looking for that one sheep when it’s out of the fold of the flock. He’s the Father of all prodigals who realize how desperately we need Him and He runs after us, but only when we are running towards Him.

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Bethany Donham

Bethany E. Donham is married to her high school sweetheart and the mother of two beautiful teenage girls. She is a full time Minister to Preschoolers and Families, but has a passion for guiding others to see the world with a Biblical perspective through her writing.

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