Michael B Linton

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

The mouse's search for the cat.

CS Lewis used the above phrase to describe what he realized had actually happened when he came to faith in Christ. All throughout his search for God, he saw himself as the crafty "cat", stealthily searching for the elusive "mouse" of God. When he finally caught the "mouse", he realized that he had not been the ultimate seeker all along; God had. We remember that Jesus came to "seek and to save that which was lost" (Luke 19:10) and that no one can come to Jesus "unless the Father...draws him." (John 6:44).

I admit, while Lewis's statement is pithy and humorous, the concept of God drawing us to salvation is nothing new. What may be new to some is that the concept is throughout the Bible, sometimes in places we don't really expect to find it. A good example of this is Jeremiah 29:10-13.

Jeremiah 29:11 is the "verse en vogue" at the moment. Allow me to put the verse in context.

10 This is what the LORD says: "When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will come to you and fulfill my gracious promise to bring you back to this place. 11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Notice, first that God knows what's coming. He has the plan all figured out. Second, notice the progression in the passages that are red. God comes to us, then we call upon Him. God is not sitting back waiting for us to wise up and realize we need him. He is constantly pursuing us, as Francis Thompson put it, as "The Hound of Heaven." It appears that we chase God until He catches us. (For those wondering, this is no endorsement of Calvinism. It is obvious that God does the drawing in the work of salvation. The decision to follow, however, is still up to us.)

We saw this in action with our call to plant Summerlake. When we began to seek God's will for the next step in our lives, we sought God. We prayed about where we should go and what we should do. As we sought God, God drew us away from what we thought the plans were to a whole new set of plans. God used our firing to "come to us" as He did to the exiles in Babylon. When He came, we began to seek and He answered. It is a beautiful thing that God does not wait on us to look for Him, but "hounds" us until we find Him.

Now, lest you think through vast intellectual and theological roamings of my mind I came up with this, Etta and I were actually illumined by studying Os Guiness's book The Call. I highly recommend it. Guiness's turn of phrase is very reminiscent of CS Lewis and he presents a wonderful understanding of the call of God on every person's life.

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