I love watching God chase people. I must admit that I have not actually seen this happen very often. I know that it occurs, but I have never seen it in person. My pastor tells me stories of how he called out God to prove himself, and God took up the challenge. Every time he turned around there was a tract that spelled out the Gospel. It would be there until he read it, and when he did, another one would replace it. To top it off people would have conversations with him about what he read. Then he would talk to other people who picked up right where they left off. (he tells the story much better than I do.) However his is not the story to which I am referring.
I am in contact with a woman who is a self proclaimed pagan. Her "religion" focuses on the earth and several other things. She works with the interfaith center and comes in contact with many people from many different religions including our christian Bible study group. Added to the whole thing is that she recently entered into a homosexual relationship. She also has many differing views that are counterproductive to the mainline Christian faith. She is my friend, and she is being pursued by God. Here some highlights of the pursuit.
1. First she comes in contact with the Bible study group. She listens to our conversation and connects to many of the students in the group. She and I have had lengthy discussions about the Bible, my faith, and Jesus.
2. One of our discussions centered around her new girlfriend. She was amazed at how the students had openly accepted her girlfriend with full knowledge of her lifestyle and choices. We have accepted her as a person and an individual.
3. When she moved out of her apartment, she claimed to have had 10-15 people promise to help her. However the only 3 people to show up were myself, a student from our group and another believer whom she knew from school. She called us her "God squad."
These are just some examples of how God is pursuing her. God is making it easier and easier for her to know Him. Even her religious views are bending toward a monotheistic Christianlike image. She is not there yet, but she is getting close.
Let me dip into some theological lingo for a moment. In college, someone once asked me which came first, REGENERATION or SALVATION? My answer to this is YES. Regeneration is making something new. It is a process as I understand it of being changed into the person of Christ.
Both of these concepts are wrapped up in and are necessary parts of Redemption. It is a change in the status of a person spiritually. It is the release of negative aspects and consequences. Sometimes salvation comes first and you enter the kingdom then change. Other times the change occurs slowly then you receive salvation. God works differently for different people and personalities.
For Ruth, redemption came slowly. Boaz made it easier and easier for her to come close to him. She took all the steps in front of her, and came closer to him. When the time was right and she was in the right place, Ruth finally asked for redemption from Boaz and he promised it to her. It only took a nudge from Naomi for her to ask.
Our job as believers is to nudge people to ask the question and provide the opportunity for them to ask for redemption. Sometimes this is harder than it sounds. Other times it is simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time and having the right answer. The challenge for us is to be aware of the pursuit and who God is chasing.
Hair (the Theolobster)