My family recently adopted two adorable kittens. We named them Ash and Willow—after the trees—and my kids, of course, were immediately obsessed with them, following them around the house, picking them up, and trying to snuggle and pet them.
Often when we move to hold them, the cats scurry out of reach. If we’re successful in our attempts to contain them, they squirm and writhe until they get free of our arms and hurry away again. It isn’t because we intend to smother the kittens—we simply feel so much love for our new pets that we almost can’t help ourselves.
Eventually we noticed that if the kittens are playing or otherwise entertaining themselves, they ’re not at all interested in being held or petted. But when they’re sleepy, they almost immediately begin purring when we give them attention. In fact, sometimes they even come looking for physical affection, mewing and rubbing against our legs until we pick them up. When we settle into bed or on the couch, they often will join us and will fall asleep snuggling against us. We just need to be patient and wait for them to come to us.
How many times have I been like Willow and Ash when God has come looking to love me? I’m often wrapped up in my own life, blinders firmly in place, uninterested in anything Christ has come to offer—so I squirm, I run away, I hide.
But eventually I get tired. This world wears me down, and I just want someone to hold me. To tell me I can relax, close my eyes, and rest. And in those moments when I go looking for God, He doesn’t snub me. He doesn’t refuse to hold me because earlier I ran from Him or because I got into trouble when I did. No. He stoops, lifts me gently into His arms, and holds me.
After a while I may squirm to escape His hold again; I may feel trapped or restless or curious, and I may forget why I came to Him in the first place. And He’ll let me go. God in His infinite wisdom and love lets me jump from His arms and scamper toward those things that distract me so easily, which may or may not be in my best interest, and again He waits.
Second Peter 3:9 tells us that “the Lord is . . . patient” (NRSV). Psalm 103:8 says He is “compassionate, merciful, patient” (GW);* and Isaiah 30:18 adds that He “waits to be gracious” to us (NRSV). In Revelation 3 we get the image of Jesus standing at the door to our hearts, knocking, waiting to be admitted (verse 20).
God will not chase us, force us, coerce us, or beg us to spend our lives with Him. Instead, He invites us. He waits. He’s patient. And He’s there. It’s up to us to choose Him; to allow Him to scoop us up into His arms and snuggle us.
* Scripture quotations credited to GW are taken from God’s Word. Copyright 1995 God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group. All rights reserved.
Becky St. Clair is a freelance writer living in California with her husband and three children. She has a decade of experience in public relations for the church, and currently writes and copyedits for various church entities around the world.