Did you ever feel alone? Ostracized? A loner? Have you ever felt like you were the only one even in the midst of a crowd? Like you were the only one struggling?
In Relentless Pursuit: God's Love of Outsiders Including the Outsider in All of Us, best-selling author, Ken Gire, uses the parable of the lost sheep to illustrate God's unconditional love for us and His unending drive to pursue the lost. To quote Gire, "He'll leave the ninety-nine just for you."
According the Gire, it's not just the unbelievers that are the outsiders. In fact, all believers, from time to time, stray from the Shepherd. And when this happens, the Shepherd always leaves the 99 and pursues the one lost sheep until it is found.
And maybe the believer hasn't completely up and turned his back on his Shepherd, but maybe there's a little part of him that feels lost, afraid, confused. Maybe just that little part has wondered away. And even then, the Shepherd will pursue that lost part and restore it to wholeness.
Along with the parable, Gire uses events from the Bible, stories from his own personal struggles, as well as illustrations from the life of Francis Thompson and his famous poem, The Hound of Heaven, to paint this picture of God's love and His pursuance of us.
I found this book to be refreshing. As Christians, we often read books full of checklists of what we should be doing, how we should be acting, etc. And it often feels like we're constantly striving for perfection. Eventually, if you read enough of those books, one will begin to feel burdened.
And I'm not saying that we shouldn't strive to live godly lives. We most definitely should. But sometimes we get so caught up in the to-do lists that we forget why we're doing the things in the first place, and we try to do it out of our own strength rather than relying on the power of the Holy Spirit.
So to read a book like this one was very encouraging. Even when I'm wandering, even when I'm in the midst of doubts and feeling lost, my Heavenly Father is pursuing me. He doesn't become angry with me because of my wandering, but instead He pursues me and loves on me and works in my heart and eventually restores myself to Him.
I enjoyed this book. I read it at a time in my life when I've been feeling rather bogged down by all of the checklists I've mentally put in place for my life. And so it was a nice reminder of how God loves me just as I am, and in the times of my life when I do struggle and feel lost, I never have to worry that God will abandon me. He relentlessly pursues me.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.*