My natural tendency is to run from God. God’s constant action is to run to me. I’d rather sin. God would rather deliver me from that destruction. I’d rather avoid God after I’ve done wrong. He wants to come close to forgive. Time and time again throughout Scripture we see God reaching out to people who are unwilling to receive Him:
- Adam and Eve disobey, cover up and hide. God looks to see if they will confess so He can forgive.
- Cain does wrong. God warns him that if he’s not careful, his sin will destroy him.
- All mankind lives completely evil. God gives them many years of warning while Noah builds the ark before the flood.
- Pharaoh enslaves the Israelites. God shows His great power, but Pharaoh hardens his heart further.
- Israel rebels. God sends judges to save them…Israel continues to rebel.
- David commits adultery so God sends Nathan to confront him. Finally, someone who receives God’s love!
- Israel rebels more. God waits and waits and waits for them to turn back to Him and then sends them into exile.
- A son takes his father’s inheritance, leaves, becomes ruined. When he returns to his father, his father runs to him in love.
I could give countless examples of God’s love and how it is spurned from Scripture and my own life. This is the theme of Scripture: I left God, but He comes to me. I chose to rebel leading to my own punishment, but God has chosen to redeem, restore, save and forgive me! Isaiah 54:8 says, “‘In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,’ says the LORD, your Redeemer.” Paul in the letter to the Ephesians describes marriage in light of this love. God pursued Israel and God pursues the church and He calls them His bride. Then men get the call to love our wives like Christ loves the church! Pursue, sacrifice and pour yourself out for your wife.
Marriage can be tough sometimes. Divorce is clearly on the decision table for many families. People say, “I’m not happy, so I want out!” Listen loud and clear, if God had that attitude, not a single one of us would have any hope of anything at all! Our sin is a stench in His nostrils, yet He comes to us in our putrid filth with His arms open and ready to embrace us. He seeks to remove the crap in our lives and replace it with His joy. There’s an analogy that remains extremely vivid in my mind. It goes like this,
4And as for your birth, on the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you, nor rubbed with salt, nor wrapped in swaddling cloths. 5No eye pitied you, to do any of these things to you out of compassion for you, but you were cast out on the open field, for you were abhorred, on the day that you were born.
6“And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. (Ezekiel 16:4-7)
There’s more to that analogy which you can read for yourself later in that chapter. In our marriages, our natural tendency is to sin and avoid each other in shame. God pursues us. We also must pursue and pursue and pursue our spouse until it hurts. This is the greatest love we can show. Families will always have pain apart from a love like this. Fight for your family today (men especially). As God has gone to great lengths to restore your joy in Him, you also must go to great lengths to restore the joy in your marriage. Pursue with love until it hurts so you can receive the fullest joy in marriage and in life and in eternity! Pursue because God has pursued you.