God’s heart for finding the lost was expected as I read Ken Gire’s book, Relentless Pursuit. What surprised me is to realize is God’s heart for those parts of me that are still lost from Him. That’s God’s relentless pursuit is not only for those who don’t know Him, but for those parts of me that stay away from Him.
Ken reminds me, “The Bible from start to finish is the story of God’s pursuit of the outsider — the foreigner, the stranger, the outcast.” That I expected, and its good to read on that expectation to fuel my soul to be part of that mission.
Here’s the part that caught my attention and gave Relentless Pursuit added value, when Ken writes, “But God doesn’t stop his pursuit when he brings us safely into the fold. He continues keeping watch over us to see when a part of us, however small or seemingly inconsequential, wanders from him.”
Throughout the book, Ken comes back again and again to Francis Thompson’s poem, “The Hound of Heaven”. This image of God’s relentless pursuit, that God keeps tracking us down. He tells Thompason’s back story of writing the poem, the good and the not so good. This is not religious spin writing, but an honest look at the life of faith.
While Francis Thompson has the “hound of heaven”, Ann Lamott has the “alley cat of heaven”. Her story in chapter 2 speaks of God as the pursuer. While the story of C. S. Lewis in chapter 3 speaks of the nature of the pursuit.
Yet what makes this book powerful is Ken Gire’s own story of faith. His authenticity and transparency reveals how God’s love continues to pursue us and will not let go. As the tag line for the title says, “God’s love of outsiders including the outsider in all of us.”
Ken weaves his story throughout the book as well as Thompson’s “hound of heaven” image and poem’s impact. God does not leave us nor forsake us. His love is constantly there.
At the end of each chapter there are questions for reflection. One of my favorite is, “Take some time to consider the pattern of God’s pursuit, over time, in your life. What can you see that’s unhurried and deliberate, both progressive and purposeful?”
That’s the beauty of this book, Ken not only tells the story of Thompson, Lamott, Lewis and his own, he invites the reader to delve into their own story of faith, of God’s hand at work and of a love that pursues.
To drive this point home, Ken quotes Howard Macy, “God aches for every person, for every creature, indeed, for every scrap of life in all creation to be join again in the unity that was its first destiny.”
God aches for you and me to come home. Relentless Pursuit is a great reminder of that story at work in our lives.
I give Relentless Pursuit 5 out of 5 stars. It provided a great devotional read and a glimpse into God’s work in others life to see His work better in my own soul and life.
My thanks for the free copy of Relentless Pursuit I received from Bethany House Publishers. In exchange I was not required to give a positive review, just an honest one.