God's relentless pursuit of my heart - true story
So I'm not a writer and this is my first blog - so be gentle/patient. These are merely the ramblings of a man who longs for more and more of Jesus. To see Christ for who He is and be more and more captivated by His love and goodness.
Now that we've gotten that out of the way . . . .
This was a weird and difficult weekend - but God has shown His love and faithfulness to continue to pursue me through my relationship with my wife, my extended family, an incredible band of brothers, and through this:
Really early Sunday morning - February 28th
The dream - I’m being followed down an unfamiliar street by a man that looked sort of like a hipster. Big oversized scarf, the kind you wear for style rather than actual function. I don’t remember the weather being particularly cold, so the scarf was a strange touch which plays absolutely no part in the remainder of the dream. I digress.
I told the man that I didn’t have any money to give him though he didn’t appear to be homeless. His hand was extended toward me, but not necessarily in a way that made me think he actually needed something from me. He just kept following me, looking in my eyes every time I turned towards him.
Now an important part of this story is that I am very skittish. I am constantly aware of potential dangers around me. I’m way to afraid of the dark for someone my age. Anyway, there was something about the whole situation that didn’t feel scary though it was still uncomfortable. He continued to follow close behind - I was definitely being pursued and I couldn’t seem to shake him.
I ducked into a coffee shop and and so did he. I tried to lose him, to shake him - sort of like when a bee is buzzing around at a beach and you frantically move toward someone else the bee rubs off on them. Of course, you pretend it was an accident as they shuffle close to the next person to do the same. (Don't act like I'm the only one). But this man wouldn’t be shaken.
As I mentioned before, I would usually have been terrified at this point and done everything subconsciously possible to wake up from the dream. But there was something peaceful and strange amidst the weirdness of the whole thing.
I don’t know how the conversation started and I really don’t remember much about what was said. I do remember two things though. First, he gently offered: “do you want to go on a retreat?” This seems super-strange and certainly should have given every reason to feel completely wigged out - but there was absolutely nothing that felt alarming about it. In fact, the offer felt warm and evoked feelings of comfort. His eyes offering something so inviting, so restful, so safe.
I didn’t answer and I don’t really know everything that was going through my mind. The Spiritual backstory is that I’ve been feeling extremely distant and disconnected from God recently. I write kids music based tightly on specific scripture. At times, I am moved to tears while recording to the point that I can’t sing the songs. Other times I am moved to tears because I realize how much I struggle to live in the Truth that the scriptures offer. I sing about being “Strong and Courageous” in the Lord as written in Joshua 1:9, yet I question at times if I would have been one of the 10 spies who reported to Moses that the giants in the land were too big - no matter what God had promised.
Most recently, strong doubts have entered my thinking to the point of questioning if I’ve really ever tasted true intimacy with my Heavenly Father that scripture says is possible. It’s been even more difficult struggling with Jesus. With doubts screaming louder than Truth, my head usurped my heart.
All the while, my heart has grown cold and guarded and angry and bitter - all while my exterior pose has fought desperately to look like my spiritual life has been strong. Not letting on that my whole world as I’ve always known it was really crumbling. My toes had become calloused and couldn’t feel the Rock underfoot. My anchor, my refuge, my hope felt distant - and my hopes and desires became misplaced - all the while longing for surrender, for peace, and for the boldness that can only come when I realize that God is who He says He is and I am who He says I am.
Even during worship when I would start to feel barriers cracking, my head would quickly get in the way and try to repair the cracks with questions, doubts, and thought of everything that needed to be done as soon as the service was over. Thoughts like “you’re just getting caught up in the moment” or “it’s easy to get emotionally carried away by lots of things - Jesus goosebumps could just as easily come from being cold, watching a great football comeback, or listening to an incredible song."
But those brief glimpses, where the heart truly connects with Jesus, share both the echoes and the foreshadowing of what was and what will be. We are created with eternity in our hearts - bearing the image of our Creator - a Creator who shares perfect intimacy through the Trinity and extends that intimacy to us through Jesus. Desire for relationship on earth points to the intimacy with Jesus we were created for. Same with music or movies, where we see beauty and creativity. Our Creator created this world, this galaxy in all it’s splendor and beauty. We create because our Creator put His creative fingerprint on our hearts.
All of these longing, these echoes, mean I’m alive and are signs that my heart is really crying out for something larger than myself, something eternal. Moreover, I’m realizing that I struggle to really commit to anything in my life. I save some small part, some corner to protect myself in case God doesn’t come through. Some place where I could retreat in case something goes wrong. can be as afraid of good things as bad things - because bad things really hurt and good things could go away, which would be a bad thing, and hence really hurt.
So back to the dream. I’m staring at this man now as his eyes look straight into my heart and soul. I don’t want to turn away - not sure if I even could. I was completely drawn in - satisfied in the moment where nothing else seemed to matter.
I never answered his question. I did ask him one though. It was the only thing I could think to ask. I even knew the answer before I asked it.
“Who sent you?"
Like I said, I already knew the answer. I don’t remember him taking his eyes off me, but he said, as I whispered it under my breath: “God”.
That’s when I woke up. It was 3:26am as I remember. A faithful God never relents in His pursuit of hearts. Amidst the chaos of life - relationships, kids, cancer, pride, doubt, fear, hope, longing, whatever it may be - God reminded me that He pursues. His gaze never turns away. His love endures. He will not forsake His own. He gently and graciously extends His hand, offers His warmth and protection, and reminds me that He is all I need.
“And the things of earth will go strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace."
If you’d like, please share how you’ve seen God faithfully pursue your heart. Have an awesome day!