Most Sunday’s, early morning, I do a Sunday cartoons for my [this] site. One particular cartoonist I follow and have enjoyed over the years is retiring and starting a business venture using his talents. I was perusing his portfolio and found this gem tucked away… it is a quick visual of Psalm 23:
I love this verse tucked away in Psalm 23:6:
|Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
as long as I live.
|Your beauty and love chase after me
every day of my life.
I’m back home in the house of God
for the rest of my life.
This verse is a promise that God (Christ) chases after His own, those who were given to Him (Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:4-5; John 17:6-26, …etc.). He will finish the good work He started in them (Philippians 1:6):
And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.
There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.
I don’t know about you, but God chased me to the end of my rope (via an obedient Sheriff in super-max at Wayside). And He is doing “Yeoman’s Work,” as, I am owned by Him (Acts 20:28), and, it is work (a cultivation, John 15:5) only He can accomplish. CS Lewis touches on this when he wrote:
“You must picture me alone in that room in Magdalen, night after night, feeling, whenever my mind lifted even for a second from my work, the steady, unrelenting approach of Him whom I so earnestly desired not to meet. That which I greatly feared had at last come upon me. In the Trinity Term of 1929 I gave in, and admitted that God was God, and knelt and prayed: perhaps, that night, the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England. I did not then see what is now the most shining and obvious thing; the Divine humility which will accept a convert even on such terms. The Prodigal Son at least walked home on his own feet. But who can duly adore that Love which will open the high gates to a prodigal who is brought in kicking, struggling, resentful, and darting his eyes in every direction for a chance of escape? The words ‘compelle intrare,’ compel them to come in, have been so abused be wicked men that we shudder at them; but, properly understood, they plumb the depth of the Divine mercy. The hardness of God is kinder than the softness of men, AND HIS COMPULSION IS OUR LIBERATION.” (Emphasis added.)
REMEMBER ~ the Apostle Paul mentioned the same — many years before — Lewis penned the Chronicles of Narnia:
I give thanks to Christ Jesus our Lord who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, appointing me to the ministry — one who was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an arrogant man. But I received mercy because I acted out of ignorance in unbelief. And the grace of our Lord overflowed, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. This saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them. But I received mercy for this reason, so that in me, the worst of them, Christ Jesus might demonstrate His extraordinary patience as an example to those who would believe in Him for eternal life.
1Timothy 1:12-16 (HCSB)
Continuing this chasing God does of those that belong to Him. His “sheep”
…My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.
John 10:27-29 (HCSB)
A scene that beautifully captures Lewis’ experience is in his The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (The Chronicles of Narnia, Book 5). One of the main characters—a boy named Eustace—has developed an evil heart and becomes a dragon. He wants to be a boy again, so Aslan leads him to a pristine fountain of water. Listen to Eustace (and behind him, C.S. Lewis), describe his experience:
The water was as clear as anything and I thought if I could get in there and bathe it would ease the pain. But the lion [Aslan] told me I must undress first.
So I started scratching myself and my scales began coming off all over the place. And then I scratched a little deeper and, instead of just scales coming off here and there, my whole skin started peeling off beautifully. In a minute or two I just stepped out of it. I could see it lying there beside me, looking rather nasty. It was a most lovely feeling. So I started to go down into the well for my bathe.
But just as I was going to put my feet into the water I looked down and saw that [the skin on my feet was] all hard and rough and wrinkled and scaly just as it had been before.
[Eustace then repeats the process a second and third time, growing increasingly despairing.]
Then the lion said, ‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.
The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off.
Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off – just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt – and there it was lying on the grass: only ever so much thicker, and darker, and more knobbly-looking than the others had been. Then he caught hold of me – I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on – and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything, but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again.
If you’re feeling God’s pursuit like the “claws” of a lion, know that while it may be painful, it’s not punishment. God never desires to pay you back, but to bring you back. Will you let him?
CS Lewis as well as the Apostle Paul were essentially “chased by God,” and in a lot of ways I was chased as well. As I was writing this and thinking on this miracle that God has wrought in my life as well as others… a friend posted this on FaceBook. And I wish to note that this boy was CHASED by God into a foster-care system and brought into His fold by the Body of Christ (via an obedient uncle and aunt). You see, Christopher Duffley was one of those given to Jesus — set-aside — by the Father, and God will finish the good work (salvation) in him: