What he said to me nearly knocked the wind out of my chest. I felt used, confused and rejected. The weight of shame crushed my heart and all feeling of worth left my body in an instant.
For the last year, I had given my all to this man: body, soul and mind. And by doing so I gave him parts of me that were not his to keep. And those five little words were all he needed to say to cause my greatest fear to become reality. “It’s just lust, not love.”
He doesn’t love me. He’s never loved me. I laid there as tears trickled down my face, allowing the rejection to set deeply into my heart. I had no one to blame but myself. I was a new Christian with bad habits, tangled in the web of a toxic relationship. And the consequences were at hand: Pain, loads and loads of pain.
What I didn’t realize was in that moment as my worth was decaying before my very eyes, God was drawing me to himself. He was pursuing my broken heart more fervently than I ever knew was possible.
“Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster. (Joel 2:12-13 ESV)
It was a tearful drive home. I was filled with sorrow over my sin and the loss of what I thought was love. I remember praying, “God, what have I done?” as tears blinded my eyes.
It was there that he revealed himself to me. It was there that he beckoned me, “Yet even now, return to me with all your heart.”
Yet even now, in your impurity.
Yet even now, in your pride.
Yet even now, in your unworthiness.
Yet even now, in your sin.
Return to me. I still want you. You are mine.
There in my weeping and mourning. There where I didn’t deserve his love and grace (not that we ever deserve it). It was there where he was slow to anger and willing and ready to pour out his mercy, grace and steadfast love.
He Won’t Relent
Our God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14.)
If you are truly his, he will continue to pursue you all your life. He will not relent until he has your whole heart.
What a beautiful truth to cling to! God loves us so much that even when we have turned our back on him he beckons us to return. And when we turn from our sin he runs to meet us like the loving Father in the parable of the prodigal son.
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate. (Luke 15:20-24 ESV)
And he pursues us like a Shepherd pursues his wandering sheep (Luke 15:3-7.) He does not leave us to wander. He will not lose any of his children.
All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. (John 6:37-39 ESV)
Maybe you’re in a relationship you know isn’t right, or you’re following after things you know are killing your soul. Whatever dark path you may be treading, he is calling you to come back into fellowship with him. There you will find fullness of joy in his presence. (Psalm 16:11)
What a truth to treasure! Friend, if you are his he will never stop pursuing your soul. He will always call you home and when you come, he will run to you. What a gracious and loving God.