The Hound of Heaven – Asbury University
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The Hound of Heaven

January 23, 2023

Joe Brockinton ’74

Luke 15:20  So he got up and went to his father.  But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.

God is a pursuer of runaways and deserters.  Francis Thompson, an English poet, wrote of God’s pursuit of those who run from Him in The Hound of Heaven.  Thompson describes a God who pursues us with “deliberate speed” as we look for our fulfillment in the things of this world.  Ultimately, the runaway is run down by the Divine pursuer who offers him His hand and bids him come home, declaring “I am He whom thou seekest!”

As a teenager, I had chosen my own path to find fulfillment, but like the prodigal son, it was a descending path characterized by selfishness that ended in emptiness.  I pretended to be happy.  My hypocrisy had become perfected.  Separated from all that I once believed, I doubted the very existence of God but He pursued me with steady and “deliberate speed.”  One night, like the prodigal son, I came to my senses, and cried out, “God, if You even exist, change me or leave me alone forever.”  The only time in Scripture that God is depicted as being in a hurry is when the father sees the prodigal son in the distance, feels compassion for him, and runs to him.  That was my experience.  As soon as I stopped running and made a move toward Him, He met me with a flood of forgiveness and grace.  I expected punishment for my rebellion, but He simply took me back into His embrace.

Aren’t you glad He pursues us and doesn’t simply leave us to our own destructive devices?  If His pursuit has brought you back to Himself, take time today to thank Him for loving you enough to pursue you even when life was unraveling.  If you are still running, know that God continues to pursue you . . . and be grateful.