God Will Never Leave You or Forsake You

by | May 16, 2019 | City Lights

God pursues his people.

This is an incredibly comforting truth, because the more I get to know myself, the more I realize that the greatest threat to my walk with God…is me.

His Word makes this clear.

Satan is ferocious, and I must be watchful. But he can’t overpower me if I am relying on God: “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).

People can do me great harm. But compared to unrepentant sin and God’s judgment, they’re not worth worrying about: “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

God sure isn’t an obstacle to my faithfulness: “God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it” (1 Corinthians 10:13).

My sinful heart, on the other hand, left unchecked, is a public menace: “Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death” (James 1:13-15).

I am prone to wander: easily discouraged, quickly offended, repeatedly tempted. Sometimes, I’m not just prone to wander—I’m liable to run into spiritual trouble, into sinful territory.

You and I can be like toddlers. We hear the voice of our Father telling us to “stop, come back,” and we turn and take off in the opposite direction—toward the oncoming traffic of disobedience and its deadly consequences.

Which is why I am so grateful that God doesn’t just shrug and walk away. Like a good Father, he chases us down. Convicting. Restoring. Renewing.

He’s been doing this for his children since we started sinning.

He came looking for Adam and Eve hiding in the garden, and he clothed them.

He came to Jacob-on-the-run and started capturing his allegiance.

He threw a storm at Jonah and pulled him back to obedience through the belly of a fish.

He sent Nathan to David and moved him to repentance. He blinded Saul on the road to Damascus, allowing him to see Jesus as glorious and precious for the first time in his life.

God chases us down like a father, because he intends to make us like his Son.

He is not content just to “save” us. He plans to sanctify us—to “bring us up,” to mature us into children who are with him and like him.

And so when we run from him, he follows. Even when we trip and do irreparable damage, he is with us. Seeing everything. Ready and able to apply the power of his healing grace to the wounds of our rebellion. The injuries of our waywardness might sting. The healing process may take a lifetime. But it is God’s process—and nothing can separate us from his love.

This is the love that we continue to experience at the Bronx Household of Faith, and we in turn desire to be instruments of God’s pursuing love in the lives of others.

This is in fact one reason for God’s church—to manifest the reality that through his Son the Father is adopting wayward children and creating by His Spirit a family. We call others into that same family when we speak about the Son and when we love like him.

What a wonderful reality to share: “We love because he first loved us” (1 John 4:19).

If you love God and his people, it’s because he has loved you. Which means he loves you still. If you are walking with God, it’s because he has pursued you—and he will never stop.