He calls out. He has always called out. He is the initiator, the pursuer, the One doing the calling, the beckoning, the inviting. Always the inviting.
“You have gone off, in search of other loves. You have wandered from Me, preferring instead things that cannot love you, cannot save you, cannot be Me for you. But I have not forgotten you. Even now, I call for your return. Though you have strayed, though you have turned to idols for comfort, I call for your return. Return to Me, and I will return to you. As the father watches for the prodigal, I watch for you, ready to run to meet you as you come up from the far country. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you. You are Mine. You are loved.”
“Aren’t you tired of striving? Haven’t you wearied yet of your attempts to ‘get it right’? You keep Me at arm’s length because you believe you aren’t yet good enough to come any closer. Who has laid such a burden on you? Who has convinced you that there is a measuring rod called “good enough”? Who has set the yoke upon your neck that forces you to labor for My love? It was not Me. I long to give you rest from all of that. Come to Me, all the way to Me. Don’t stop short. I have no intention of making you crawl or beg. My heart is for you to come with boldness, confident in My love for you. I bled enough blood, there has been enough atonement made for you, enough death was died for you to live. Don’t you see? Enough is done. Just come to Me.”
“Look for Me. I won’t hide from you. I will always let you find Me. You have looked for life among the dead. Seek Me and live. You have looked for what is good in a world that has fallen under the grip of sin, for love in all the wrong places, for compassion among those who are empty, for significance in a shallow world. Seek Me. Your search will not be in vain. In Me you will find everything your heart has been longing to find. Look for Me. I am not hiding. I want to be found by you.”
It has always been this way. He calls to us, always, as in that first, “Where are you?”. With loving kindness He draws us to Himself. With patience, He watches for our return from the far country of our own ways. With gentleness, He beckons us to bend our neck and let the yoke of slavery and striving fall, so that we can rest. And when we seek, and even when we don’t, we find Him. Because love was His idea and we are the objects of love. We are wanted. Always. No matter what rags we are wearing or the stench we carry with us. He wants us. Even if we march to the beat of a drum no one else can hear, He wants us. In our poverty, we are wanted. In our searchings and cravings, broken or whole, we are wanted by the God who created us.
“I loved you first.
First, I loved you.
Nothing has changed.”
Isaiah 44:22; Luke 15:17-20; Matthew 11:28-30; Galatians 5:1; Isaiah 45:19; Isaiah 65:1; Amos 5:4; Jeremiah 29:13; 1John 4:19, and many more.