My family and I went to what we call “Angel Island,” which is a small patch of dirt in the middle of the canals on North Padre Island. We like this little island because the kids can’t wander off, and we can watch the boats and the skiers as they jet on by. On the other side of the canal on this particular day were two dogs. Their owners landed their boat on the strip of land adjacent to us, and the dogs enjoyed running up and down the length of the shore.
Whenever a boat or jet skier would drive by, one of the dogs would chase it until he ran out of land. He would start at one end of the strip and run the distance of a football field to the other side. The boats were going about 35 mph, and this dog kept pace! I couldn’t believe how fast he ran and how excited he looked chasing these boats.
I felt kind of bad for the dog, though. He never caught the boats. The land would run out and the boats would zip on past him. The dog didn’t seem to mind because he would go back to where he started and wait for another boat to come. I think the dog loved the thrill of chasing the boats. He didn’t really need to catch them.
This made me think of God’s promises to us. I’ve realized that God always puts His promises to us way out in the distance. They are almost never within our immediate reach. In order to claim these promises, we have to get our running shoes on and chase them.
“Why do you make it so hard, God?” I asked Him.
God whispered into my heart: “Those promises mean very little to me, but you mean everything to me. I place those promises away from you so you can move from Point A (old selfish nature) to Point B (Christ-likeness). I want you close to me, so I place promises along the way to draw you near and to teach, encourage and bless you.”
Finally, after years of waiting on God to fulfill His promises to me, I understood what I was doing wrong. God’s promises are already fulfilled. If He gave them to me, they are recorded in history as completed and I shouldn’t worry about the timing. What I need to focus on is the chase. How am I running after my promises? Am I focused like that dog with a huge grin on my face and my tongue lolling out to one side? Or am I whining and complaining to God that He is taking too long and He is making it too hard?
I think God wants to us to enjoy the chase. He put promises around us to make life fun and rewarding. He didn’t put them there to make us miserable. My goal for myself now is to enjoy the chase. Chasing dreams is a privilege, and God has given me gifts, talents and the Holy Spirit to help me run to win.
Unlike the dog, if I run out of land, God will teach me to run on water so I can continue to chase my boat. And when I finally catch it, I want to be eager for another promise and another chase! Promises help me to cultivate a deeper relationship with God, so I want to chase after a bunch of them! I desire for Jesus to be my best friend before I meet Him face to face.
What promises has God given you? Are you chasing them with determination, clinging onto Him the entire way? How can you begin to enjoy the chase and feel secure in His love for you?
“I have sought your face with all my heart; be gracious to me according to your promise”
(Psalm 119.58 NIV).