I can still picture the water fountain where she went missing. Time hasn’t erased the horror. It was almost twenty-five years ago, and our first family outing after our youngest daughter was born. Melanie was a couple of weeks old; her sisters Elizabeth and Stephanie were six and four.
The girls were giddy. What child isn’t about a county fair? Carnival rides, cotton candy, animals, and more. But we didn’t see any of those things. Because our first stop was the water fountain, and that’s where we lost her.
While Stephanie sipped, we scanned the grounds to determine where we should go first. Then faster than you can swallow, she went missing. And the hunt began.
My husband ran to the fair headquarters to have it announced via the loud speaker that there was a missing child. I made circles around the water fountain with the stroller gripped in one hand and Elizabeth’s small palm in the other. We prayed and pursued, and pursued and prayed.
To this day I’m grateful for the nameless, gentle grandpa who saw a scared little girl near the carny rides, hoisted her high on his shoulders, and brought her back to our family.
And in the pursuit for our little girl we get a glimpse of how God pursues us. How He pursues you. That’s the precious promise of Psalm 23:6: Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.
Surely (for sure, for certain, you can count it, it’s a promise) goodness (a description of who God is) will follow (pursue, chase, hunt down) you (yes, you!) all the days of your life (it’s a love for a lifetime!)
God pursues us on our good-behavior days and our bad-behavior days. His audacious love follows us when we have attitude, ingratitude, and come unglued. And though our motives for wandering may be unintentional like Stephanie or deliberate rebellion, His love never changes. Though we turn our back on God, He never turns His back on us. He always loves with a wooing, pursuing love.
Think on His relentless love for you!
- To the one who is weak and weary, His unfailing love supports, surrounds, and shields. Nothing can separate you from His love! (Psalm 94:18, Psalm 32:10, Romans 8:38-39)
- To the one who doesn’t feel enough, His love is beyond measure! It reaches to the skies and ocean depths; it extends from east to west. (Psalm 103:11-13)
- To the one stuck in her muck, His love is compassionate, gracious, and slow to anger. It corrects, but never condemns. (Psalm 86:15)
- To the one who can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, His love will not end. He will not fail you, walk out on you, or give up on you. Ever. (Psalm 89:28, 33)
- To the one who longs for more, His love will satisfy every longing of the heart. That thing you want so badly? His love is greater still! (Psalm 90:14)
- To the one on the run, you cannot outrun His goodness and love. (Psalm 23:6)
You are His beloved. And even if you doubt His goodness, cringe at His timing, and can’t wrap your head around the whys behind your pain, know that He hasn’t lost sight of you. He sees you. He follows you. And in His great love He gathers you in His arms and carries you close to His heart.