I could see how someone might read the account of creation in Genesis 1 and think that the creation of man was just the next step in the creative process, as if God created everything else—the sun, moon and stars, the skies, the vast waters and the dry land, plants and trees, birds and animals—and then wanted a new creative challenge.
But Paul tells us in Ephesians 1 that this is not the case. “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (vv. 4-5, NLT). God had us in mind when he began the creative process. He created us so we could be part of His family. That was His heart’s desire!
David imagined the immense sadness God must have felt when He saw that His creation had turned away from Him. “The Lord looks down from heaven on the entire human race; He looks to see if anyone is truly wise, if anyone seeks God. But no, all have turned away.” (Psalm 14:2-3, NLT). We have strayed so far from God’s plan, and frustrated His heart’s desire.
What is God’s response? He continues to pursue us. It is almost beyond our human comprehension.
In his book, No Wonder They Call Him the Savior, pastor Max Lucado tells a story about a runaway girl:
Christina longed to get away from her poor Brazilian neighborhood. She had only a pallet to sleep on, and she dreamed of a better life in the city. One morning she slipped away, breaking her mother’s heart.
Knowing what life on the streets would be like for her young, attractive daughter, Maria hurriedly packed to go find her. On her way to the bus stop she stopped at the drugstore to get one last thing. Pictures. She sat in the photo booth, closed the curtain, and spent all she could on photos of herself. With her purse full of the small black and white photos, she boarded the next bus to Rio de Janeiro.
Maria knew Christina had no way of earning money. She also knew that her daughter was too stubborn to give up. When pride meets hunger, a human will do things that were unthinkable before. Knowing this, Maria began her search. Bars, hotels, nightclubs, any place with a reputation for street walkers or prostitutes. At each place, she left her picture—taped on a bathroom mirror, tacked to a hotel bulletin board, fastened to a corner phone booth. And on the back of each photo, she wrote a note…
It was weeks later that Christina descended the hotel stairs. Her young face was tired. Her brown eyes no longer danced with youth but spoke of pain and fear…her dream had become a nightmare. A thousand times she had longed to trade these countless beds for her secure pallet.
There on the lobby mirror was a small picture of her mother. Christina’s eyes burned and her throat tightened as she walked across the room and removed the small photo. Written on the back was this compelling invitation: “Whatever you have done, whatever you have become, it doesn’t matter. Please come home.” And she did.
This kind of unconditional love is exactly what people who are far from God are longing for. Our God lovingly pursues you, and them—your friends, your neighbors, colleagues, classmates, relatives, the cashier at the store. He pursues us relentlessly, as if we were the one lost sheep. The desire of God’s heart is that we do the same.
Prayer: Lord, we cannot love unconditionally without your supernatural help. Make it our heart’s desire to love others—to pursue them, and invite them to come home.