No matter how far or fast we may run from Him, He still pursues us.
Please, Doctor, just one more time!”
I froze in my tracks, bewildered by Belinda’s1 persistence. My pregnant patient was desperately pleading with me to forget my medical duties just to rub her lower back, in a bid to offer some relief from her increasingly intense labor pains. From my obstetric assessment I knew she had at least 10 more hours before she would give birth. Six hundred minutes by her bedside, in the middle of the night, and I had 20 more pregnant women to review before I could get some sleep. This was going to be a long night.
Earlier, feeling empathetic, I had offered to rub her lower back to relieve the pain of her contractions. I underestimated the appreciation my efforts would elicit. Hardly had I begun to rub her back when the patient on the adjacent bed also began to demand my “soothing back-rub services.” I realized that I would be stuck in this room for the rest of the night, oscillating between their backs, neither of them willing to share my hands.
Oh! Time to split.
No sooner had I moved into the next room to review other patients than I heard a loud, piercing cry from the hallway. “Daktari! Daktari!2 Where are you? Come rub my back!” Yikes! Belinda qualified for most-persistent-patient-of-the-year award. I thought that her tenacity and determination would subside, given a few more minutes. Those minutes turned into hours.
By the time I had reviewed the whole ward, I still heard her crying for me from her room. I had just sat down at the nurses’ station when I saw her making her way in the hallway, asking every nurse if they had seen the nice “four-eyed doctor” (referring to my spectacles), who had graciously done mysterious wonders for her. I cowered lower behind a wall, hoping that she wouldn’t notice me. The nurses burst into uncontrollable laughter, making fun of me the rest of the night.
Even today I remember Belinda “chasing” me relentlessly through the corridors of the hospital. She took the initiative to pursue me. She desperately needed relief from her pain, and she was willing to get what she wanted at all costs. That is what persistence is all about. If that’s what a human is capable of, what about God?
Reflecting on the events of that night, I am reminded how relentless our Saviour is in His pursuit of us. No matter how far or fast we may run from Him, He still pursues us. He runs toward us, just as the father ran toward his prodigal son. Who can run faster? The psalmist declared that His “beauty and love chase after me every day of my life” (Ps. 23:6, Message).3 His hot pursuit of us is so intense that He became the God-man and chased after us in the hallways of earth.
He did not stop there. He went beyond pursuing us and exchanged His perfect life for our doom—all while we were still sinners (see Rom. 5:8). He did not wait for us to be perfect. He became poor so that we, through His poverty, might become rich (cf. 2 Cor. 8:9). Of His own volition He grabbed my exam paper that had been graded F for fail, erased my name, and wrote His name on it. Then He took His flawless exam sheet (graded A for distinction), erased His name, and wrote my name on it. One day, when we stand before our divine Judge, He will see Christ’s perfect grades attached to our names.
Jesus still pursues us today, knocking on the door of our hearts, hoping that we will let Him in (see Rev. 3:20). Why? He says, “That’s how much you mean to me! That’s how much I love you! I’d sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you” (Isa. 43:4, Message).
Will we give in to His chase?
¹ Not her real name.
² Swahili word for doctor.
³ Texts credited to Message are from The Message. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.