Monday, April 7, 2008

In Hot Pursuit

There’s something about a chase that is just fascinating. One trying desperately to get away. Another following, pursuing and gradually closing the gap. This whole idea of “cat and mouse” makes for great drama. Think of some of the greatest movie scenes: the famous car chase in Bullitt, the FBI’s pursuit of Dr. Richard Kimble in The Fugitive, the search for the hidden treasure of the Knights Templar in National Treasure, or Jason Bourne eluding the CIA in the Bourne trilogy of films.

We all love a good chase, don’t we?

This same idea can be applied to our very own lives. We have many “life pursuits.” Our education, finding the right mate, landing a fulfilling job, being successful, becoming wealthy, fitting in with the popular crowd, traveling the world, or finding fame – these are common goals for many of us.

And, while we have many things we chase after during our lifetime, what we fail to realize is that we are the ones being pursued. In fact, it’s a hot pursuit. A no-holds-barred chase that is happening behind the scenes.

Webster’s Dictionary defines the term hot pursuit as follows: close continuous pursuit of a fleeing suspected lawbreaker or hostile military force, especially across territorial lines.

This is exactly what is going on all around us. On one hand, we have an enemy whose one and only goal is to keep us separated from God. He distracts, interferes, undermines, and deceives. He plays dirty. And, he cares nothing about you and me. He only cares about God’s plan. So he looks for ways to exploit our weaknesses, so he can eliminate us from the game.

But, there’s another pursuer. One who continues to chase us down even after we have fallen. One who loves. One who stops at nothing to find us. One who rescues.

One of the best books I have ever read is called God is Closer Than You Think by John Ortberg. To illustrate his point, Ortberg uses Michelangelo’s painting of God and Adam, traditionally called The Creation of Adam. Ortberg points out that in the painting, “God is rushing toward Adam on a cloud…God’s entire being is wrapped up in his impatient desire to close the gap between himself and this man. He can’t wait.”

But, Adam isn’t as eager. He reclines casually, and his arm is only partially extended toward God, “as if he has no interest at all in making a connection.” Ortberg continues, “Maybe he (Adam) assumes that God, having come this far, will close the gap. Maybe he is indifferent to the possibility of touching his creator. Maybe he lacks the strength. All he would have to do is lift a finger.”

Every time I think about this image, I am convicted and saddened. Why? Because that painting perfectly captures our complacency toward God. The one who is called I AM, who created the galaxies, the animals, the oceans, the mountains - and you and me - is in hot pursuit of us daily. And, all we have to do is lift a finger to touch Him, and to be touched by Him.

The greatness and omnipotence of God has one unique limitation…the ability to make that choice for you and me. He will never force our hand.

I pray that this very moment you’ll slow down, pull over, and take a close look in the rearview mirror of your life. There’s someone pursuing you who desperately wants to fill your heart to overflowing.

All you have to do is lift a finger.

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