Oh, my goodness, I never thought I’d be telling you this. But here goes.
So, I’ve had several friends ask me if I’ve considered getting on a dating site. My answer was always, “Absolutely not.” Now, there were varying reasons. At first, I just wasn’t ready. Then, I’d heard so many horror stories from women who had gone on dates with some men from the different sites. Oh man, they had some really ridiculous stories to tell. Most of them were just hilarious and we got a good laugh about them. But some ended in hurt, rejection, and confusion. This is probably the best reason I personally stayed away from dating sites. But, one day, either in a moment of weakness or a moment of strength (I still don’t know which one) I joined one…for 24 hours.
If you’re not familiar, most of these dating sites are matching you up based on your criteria: location, height, religion - whatever you prioritize. And on this particular site, it’s the females that decided if they want to make contact with the men if they got a match. If you were interested, you would “swipe right.” If you weren’t, “swipe left.” I guess I was feeling open and curious that day, so I swiped right and said “hello” to one guy. We started up a friendly conversation and when I realized that he lived an hour away, he and I both knew it wasn’t going to work. He was expecting his “new interest” to come to him; to move their life and merge it in with his. If we were going to see each other, I was going to have to pursue him. That definitely was not going to work for me. I wanted to be pursued, not one who uproots my life to pursue a man. But instead of ending the conversation, we continued chatting about what it was like trying to find a friend and companion on a dating site. He shared his experiences with me. Apparently, he’d been on a while. And now I know some of the reasons why, and I’ll refrain from sharing them here, out of respect. Anyway, at one point he asked me what my life was like; what I did for a living, etc. I rattled off all the things I’m involved in, including my vocation, ministry opportunities, and the things I’m passionate about and love to do. He said, “So where is there room for a new companion in your life?” Wow, I had to stop and really think about that for a minute before I responded. Where, indeed. Now, I have my ideas, and that includes the hope that if it happened, it would be a natural integration of like passions and interests. That that “someone” would be my greatest support system and cheerleader for all that I love doing and was created to do in life. And vise versa. And that’s what I told him. Interestingly, he told me that he’s too “needy” (yes, his words) and he’d definitely want all my attention and focus. He wouldn’t want to “share” me with anyone or anything. Basically, he was saying to be his ideal companion, I’d need to give up all those things - everything I loved - and just love him. Whoa. So back to the question, “Where is there room for someone in your life?” I gently said, “You’re right. There’s probably not.” I told him I appreciated the conversation and his kindness, and he ended the conversation by saying, “I know you’re looking for a godly man, so if you ever come to my area, I’m here for ya.” And with that, I deleted my account. Just like that.
Now, I would not say that’s an example of being pursued rightly. But I do know that I’ve been pursued before by someone who asked the same of me. “I want all your affection. All your attention. All of your heart, and I don’t want to share it with anyone else. The first face I want you to see in the morning is Mine. I want to be on your mind and heart all day. If you have a problem or a need, I want you to come to Me first, no one else.” He said, “I am consumed with you. And I want you to give up everything else and be consumed with Me, too.”
And I said, “yes” …to all of it.
It just made sense. After all, there comes a time in your life when you realize you can’t do it on your own anymore. There comes a time when you don’t want to do it on your own anymore. There comes a time when you feel like Hagar in the Bible, sitting in the heat of the desert just waiting to die. And someone reaches out His hand and says, “I see you and you are beautiful to me. I want the chance to win your heart. Let me love you and take care of you.” And you say, “yes.” And then you realize as you look back, this very One has been pursuing your heart for a very long time. In fact, He’s been there all along, right under your nose, so to speak, even when you didn’t even recognize Him. He was there, doting on you; lavishing you with affection; saying the kindest words you thought you’d never get to hear. He was there. And at some point, you realize just what He’s been patiently doing, patiently waiting for this whole time. And that is for you to just notice Him; to see Him; to recognize His patient, but very intentional, pursuit of your heart. And your “yes” made His heart soar. He’s been longing for you, waiting, hoping. And now you’re finally together, just as it was meant to be from the beginning.
Hagar called Him El Roi - the God who sees and takes care of me in Genesis 16:13. Hagar, an Egyptian slave, experienced God’s loving pursuit in her life when she sat alone in the wilderness, pregnant, exhausted, and afraid, just waiting to die. And God, all-loving and all-knowing, showed up, spoke tenderly to her, and cared for her.
The allegorical, poetic Song of Songs depicts Christ’s love of the soul of His beloved as He says, “Behold, you are beautiful, my love, behold, you are beautiful.” Chapter 4 verse 1. The object of His affection responds and says, “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is for me.” Chapter 7 verse 10.
I love this, “I am my beloved’s.” I am - as in me, Tricia - not just my pastor or bible teacher, or some other spiritual giant who seems much more worthy than me. I am my beloved’s.
I am my beloved’s. - right now, just as I am. Not some future, better, cleaned up version of me. But me, right now. I am my beloved’s.
I am my beloved’s. He is mine. Not simply OUR beloved, as in the whole body of Christ, but mine. He is my beloved. Jesus loved me and gave Himself for Me, Galatians 2:20 says. I am my beloved’s, and His desire is for me.”
God pursues! Throughout the old testament, we see time and again how God pursued His people even when they were rebellious and complaining. He patiently and persistently pursued. The entire book of Hosea describes the heart of God to pursue Israel in a real-life metaphor of Hosea pursuing Gomer, who over and over again left him to be with other men.
God’s pursuit of us, even as we’re running away from Him, is undeterred and relentless as He says, “Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.” Hosea 2:14 God loved me at my darkest. He loved me when I wasn’t even loving Him back. So, how do I know this? Romans 5:8 says, “God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Ephesians 2 verses 4 and 5 say, “But God being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, He made us alive together with Christ.”
There is nothing we could do, my friend, to keep God from pursuing us. There is no sin too great, no distance too far, that would discourage God from pursuing our heart. It doesn’t matter how many times you “swipe left,” He’s not discouraged, but continues to dote on you and lavish you with love. From the moment you were born, God has been pursuing your heart.
Eugene Peterson paraphrases Psalm 23:6 in The Message Bible. It says, “Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” Every day! Every day God is chasing after me. After you. He’s pursuing a relationship with you. He wants you to call Him your “beloved.” He wants you to call Him “mine.” He desperately wants to hear you say “yes” to His very intentional, very purposeful pursuit of you. He wants to win your heart.
God pursues a deeper commitment from us, and His pursuit is for our good. He knows that our hearts would never be whole, would never be fulfilled or delighted until we say “yes” to Him. He knows there is nothing here on this earth that would ever fully satisfy us like His love, attention, and affection. There is nothing here that would give us everything we are hungering for. “Your steadfast love is better than life” Psalm 63:3 says. Better than anything this life could offer. His love is better.
Friend, can you hear Him saying, “Beloved, you are beautiful! My love, behold, you are beautiful. I want all of your affection. All of your attention. All of your heart, and I don’t want to share it with anyone else. The first face I want you to see in the morning is Mine. I want to be on your mind and heart all day. If you have a problem or a need, I want you to come to Me first, no one else.” Do you hear Him saying, friend, “Beloved, I am consumed with you. And I want you to give up everything else and be consumed with Me, too.”
Friend, will you say “yes” …to all of it?