Tag Archives: God’s Love

“The Hound of Heaven”: God’s Pursuit of You

We often hear about our deep need for God, but I don’t think that we hear enough about His intense desire for us. Our relationship with God is a two-way street: we yearn for Him, but He yearns for us even more.

The relationship between God and a soul is revealed to us in Scripture as being like that of a lover and the beloved. The Song of Songs, a biblical love poem charged with the intensity of romantic feeling, gives us a reflection of the intensity of God’s love through the symbolic search of a man for the woman he loves. As the man pursues the woman, so much more does God seek us. As beautiful as human love may be, every marriage and romantic relationship is just an image of the love God for each of his children.

Francis Thompson’s autobiographical poem, The Hound of Heaven, provides another powerful image of God’s desire for each of us. Using the image of a hound pursuing a hare, Thompson describes how God sought him through the years despite his own resistance and fear:

I FLED Him, down the nights and down the days;
I fled Him, down the arches of the years;
I fled Him, down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind; and in the mist of tears
I hid from Him

He describes how he continuously fled from God, who never stopped calmly and lovingly pursuing. No matter where he went, Thompson could hear

…those strong Feet that followed, followed after.
But with unhurrying chase,
And unperturbèd pace,
Deliberate speed, majestic instancy,
They beat—and a Voice beat
More instant than the Feet—
‘All things betray thee, who betrayest Me.’

He runs and runs, seeking happiness in other things, until desperate and exhausted, he gives up, and surrenders to the persistent pursuit of God, who says to him,

‘And is thy earth so marred,
Shattered in shard on shard?
Lo, all things fly thee, for thou fliest Me!

Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee,
Save Me, save only Me? 
All which I took from thee I did but take,
Not for thy harms,
But just that thou might’st seek it in My arms.
All which thy child’s mistake
Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home:
Rise, clasp My hand, and come!’

We should never forget that God’s love for us is as intense as that of the lover in the Song of Songs, and as persistent as the the hound in The Hound of Heaven.

St. Augustine once wrote, “Our hearts are restless, Lord, until they rest in Thee.” We should remember that God Himself is restless for us as well.

Christ said, “I have come to set the world on fire, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49)

These are the words of a God who loves you intensely,  and who will not rest until your heart is kindled with the fire of His love.


Letting God Love You

Rat-raceWe live in a world that hyper-emphasizes work and personal success. It teaches us to esteem ourselves according to our personal achievements, and often we project this faulty vision on our relationships with God. All too often, we think and act as if God’s love for us were somehow conditioned by how virtuous we are and by how often and well we pray.

God’s Infinite Love

Nothing could be farther from the truth. God’s love is not proportionate to our spiritual merit; rather, His love for us is infinite. All that He wants from us is that we accept His love and receive it with grateful hearts. All He wants is that we love Him back.

Imagine a marriage in which the husband day-in and day-out strives to show his love for his wife in many different details. He always kisses her good-bye in the morning, he texts her throughout the day, he often gives her little gifts, he prepares special meals for her on the weekend, and organizes well-thought Sunday outings and vacations.

Now what if his wife never did anything to thank him or show appreciation for his thoughtfulness and love? What if she remained completely indifferent and sometimes ignored his efforts? At the very least, she would be extremely ungrateful and thoughtless.

Unfortunately, this is how we too often treat God. Day-in and day-out, He offers us little gifts and manifestations of His infinite love, yet we pay them no attention.

Most of the times, this lack of gratefulness is not a result of bad intention but simply happens because we are too focused on ourselves. We put too much focus on what we are doing to love God and not enough on how He is loving us.

Nothing too Small

Since His love for us is infinite, there is nothing that is too small forimage Him to do to show us His love. He whispers His love to us in cool breezes, beautiful sunsets, and chirping birds. He expresses His love through the love of others – the constant love of our family and friends and through the random acts of kind strangers. Sometimes He loves us through special coincidences and little miracles.

When we receive gifts from God, we often think that we are obligated to do something in return, but, again, this is far from the truth: God’s love in no way depends on us. We can do nothing to lessen His love, and we can do nothing to increase it – it is already infinite.

How awesome it is to think that we are the recipients of infinite love! I believe that our lives would be so different if we remained aware of this amazing fact.

Responding to God’s Love

Although God requires nothing from us in return, He does desire our love, and we do not have to do much to show it. Little prayers such as “I love you” or “Jesus, this is for you” mean more than we can imagine. Also, simply spending time with our Lord is another way to show our love. When we put ourselves in His presence, be it in the silence of the church or the silence of our rooms, we express our love for Him in a powerful way.

Just being with Him means so much to God. Even if we are tired and barely able to pray, all that matters is that we want to be there with the Lord.

Lucy waiting for her belly rub.
Lucy waiting for her belly rub.

Many of us have the joy of having pets. Although I do not have any pets of my own, but I always look forward to seeing my family’s Welsh Corgi whenever I visit home. Lucy is a funny little dog who loves nothing more than belly rubs and playing fetch. I enjoy doing both for her, and I have often thought how interesting it is that I love making her happy even though she can do little in return. It has occurred to me that our relationships with our pets are partially analogous to our relationship with God. Just as we love our pets in spite of their limited ability to reciprocate, so God loves us despite our own limitations.

Making It Real

imageLetting God love you is simply being aware of His love and being grateful for it. Try getting into this habit. At least one day this week, try to remember God’s love for you at least five different times, and thank Him for His love on each occasion.  I think that you will be amazed at how much the awareness of God’s love will elevate your day.