Recently we finished a study through the book of Jonah. For a short little book it is really packed with quite a bit to chew on. One big take-away for me was just how much God pursued Jonah as well as the Ninevites. Our God pursues us. This is not a passive pursuit either. God is actively pursuing the world, constantly wooing the world to Himself. To help us grasp this more I want to share an excerpt from the book Christianity Rediscovered. The following excerpt pertains a dialogue between a missionary, Vincent J. Donovan, and a Masai elder:
Months later when all this had passed, I was sitting talking with a Masai elder about the agony of belief and unbelief. He used two languages to respond to me--his own and Kiswahili. He pointed out that the word my Masai catechist, Paul, and I had used to convey faith was not a very satisfactory word in their language. It literally meant "to agree to." I, myself, knew the word had that shortcoming. He said "to believe" like that was similar to a white hunter shooting an animal with his gun from a great distance. Only his eyes and fingers took part in the act. We should find another word. He said for a man to really believe is like a lion going after its prey. His nose and eyes and ears pick up the prey. His legs give him the speed to catch it. All the power of his body is involved in the terrible death leap and single blow to the neck with the front paw, the blow that actually kills. And as the animal goes down the lion envelops it in his arms (Africans refer to the front legs of and animal as its arms), pulls it to himself, and makes it part of himself. This is the way a lion kills. This is the way a man believes. This is what faith is.I looked at the elder in silence and amazement. Faith understood like that would explain why, when my own was gone, I ached in every fiber of my being. But my wise old teacher was not finished yet."We did not search you out, Padri," he said to me. "We did not even want you to come to us. You searched us out. You followed us away from your house into the bush, into the plains, into the steppes where our cattle are, into the hills where we take our cattle for water, into our villages, into our homes. You told us of the High God, how we must search for him, even leave our land and our people to find him. But we have not done this. We have not left our land. We have not searched for him. He has searched for us. He has searched us out and found us. All the time we think we are the lion. In the end, the lion is God." (pg. 48)
God is everywhere, actively pursuing all of humanity. His kingdom comprises those from every "nation, tribe, people and language." We are not taking God to any culture, tribe or nation. Godd is already there because he is in pursuit of his creation. Subsequently, the church needs to follow God in his pursuit of redeeming all the world. Let us find out where the Lion is stalking his prey and join with him in the hunt.