Saturday, December 3, 2011


I remember being pursued four times in my life (there are probably more).

The third time was summer 1969. I was excited about being pursued by a school district for a teaching position. They needed me; school started in two months and a third grade classroom stood devoid of a teacher.

The fourth time I was pursued was fall 1988 – when I signed on as a Longaberger consultant. Several were pursuing. In direct sales it makes a difference with whom you sign up; income is involved. I felt very wanted.

Backing up, the second time I was pursued started in the fall 1967 by Bill – my husband. He desired to date me; he desired to marry me. I reveled in this relationship. Yes, he needed me; I completed him; yes, he wanted me; a good feeling; but his desire for me communicated something very special – more important, a deeper bond than need or want.

Needed, wanted, desired – all positive experiences; all communicate worth and something I gladly respond to. But none compare to being pursued by God.

Theologically, God’s pursuit me commenced before He created me; “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born I consecrated you”. Jeremiah 1:5. I believe those words are for me as well as the prophet Jeremiah. It was during my junior high years when church, youth group (the spiritual part of me) started to be important. I could not have articulated the why of that importance; I just knew it was important.

I remember Mom’s last words to me before she, Dad, and my two-year-old sister pulled away from the curb to start their long journey back to New Jersey from Michigan where they dropped me off at college, Sue, don’t get too religious. Why did Mom say that? I think she recognized a desire in me that I still could not put into words. God was relentlessly pursuing. I tucked that counsel away.

It was over a year later when I acknowledged God’s pursuit and responded. I remember the place; I remember the time; it was life changing. It was about relationship not religion. It undergirded my response to Bill; my response to the teaching invitation; my response to the invitation from Longaberger; and many responses since.

What would it look like for me to trust you today, God? This prayer-question arises almost every morning as I consider the day before me. Our relationship is growing; God and I pursuing each other.

Joseph pursuing Mary pictures God’s pursuit of me. History, culture, and the Bible relate their story well. Joseph spoke for Mary; he asked for her to be his wife. Their community acknowledged it; they knew Mary belonged to Joseph; she would take his name; she would come to his home; she was not afraid.

The Bible picks up the story as God intervenes in their plans. His messenger – the angel  Gabriel – comes to Mary and Joseph separately with an amazing announcement; Mary is pregnant by the Holy Spirit and is going to give birth to the Son of God. Although there were fears, Mary and Joseph both listen well and respond in faith to Gabriel’s words. (Matthew 1 and Luke 1).

How like God. God waits for the perfect time; the time He knows we’ll be able to respond. God works in unlikely ways; a virgin giving birth – a college student who thinks she’s attending college to train for teaching and to meet a mate. God speaks his invitation to take his name; he knows who will respond to his pursuit.

“You did not choose me; I chose you”.
John 15:16

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