What's pursuing you?
Ever feel as if something is chasing you? We can have lingering thoughts, feelings, or memories that just won’t let go. Their pursuit of us is constant, even though it can take different forms. Sometimes, it’s over-bearing, always-present. Other times, we’re able to shove it out of our minds, only to have it resurface again later (and usually when we’re drifting off to sleep, right?).
The pieces of our past can hound us in many ways. Pain, shame, hate, anger, things we said, things we didn’t say…just to name a few. Antagonistic people, or even those who are out-right enemies, can dominate our thinking and the thought of them can doggedly chase us down.
I’ve said many times that I love the real-ness we find in the book of Psalms. The various psalmists explore all aspects of life, often laying out their extremely-raw emotions before God. And we don’t see any lightning bolts striking down the psalmists for their words, either. Instead, we find that their petitions, questions, and wrestling drive them toward God, not away.
David is always a good example of one who openly talked with God, and in one of his psalms we find a mindset that can help us deal with the thoughts and people that pursue us. Read Psalm 23, and pay close attention to the last stanza:
The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
He lets me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He renews my life;
He leads me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
Even when I go through the darkest valley,
I fear no danger, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff – they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord as long as I live.
David marvels at how God has no problem with settling down for food in the presence of [David’s] enemies. To us, that’s not the time to sit down to a nice meal. If enemies are present, then we would think it’s time to take cover or prepare for battle…but with God on his side, David knows he is safe to camp out where God has him.
But it’s one of the lines afterward that really opens my eyes. Despite being in the presence of [his] enemies, David isn’t chased by them forever. Because he is with God, David recognizes that only goodness and faithful love will pursue me all the days of my life.
His enemies are around, there are and will be hard situations in life…but when David looks at the bigger picture, the one from God’s perspective, he finds that only God’s goodness and faithful love have been chasing after him.
That’s the key for us, too. When our thoughts are being overtaken by memories of old sins or difficulties in the present, we need to look at life from God’s perspective. From His vantage point, we’ll see clearly and be able to trust Him with our present and all the days of [our] life.
A few years back, a Christian band released a great orchestra-rock song about recognizing that our past doesn’t control us anymore, even when we feel pursued by memories and feelings. The link below is to a video of the song’s lyrics.
Disciple – Dear X, You Don’t Own Me