Many years ago, I used to have lots of hamsters. Each one had a name and was special to me. I got to pick most of them out at the store. The scene was so familiar. "I want the gold and white one there" was commonly heard. Then the glove came on and pursued the cute little furry thing that was about to become mine. But the hamster was taken off guard. When he saw the glove coming, he would try as hard as he could to flee the aquarium, only to run into a glass wall no matter which way he turned. The hamsters were so wiggly that many times they were able to escape the glove. But, no fear, the clerk would try again and finally get a grasp on the animal that he wasn't able to get out of.
We are like hamsters too. God begins to pursue us and what do we do? We try to get away! Of course, we cannot escape from God because He is everywhere. Why is it that we want to get away from God? Why is there hostility to the One who created us?
The Bible tells us that we are enemies of God. We are enemies of God because God is holy and perfect, and we are sinful and want to continue living sinfully. Living sinfully really boils down to wanting to live selfishly. The options are, we either live for God, or, we live for ourselves. We have an Enemy of our souls who would like us to believe that sin is good for us, and that we should love ourselves more than anything else. He also would like for us to believe that we have to love ourselves before we can love other people. The truth is, we do love ourselves. We love ourselves more than anything else. The devil will also want us to believe that God is not good. The Enemy of our souls wants us to think that God wants to take our fun away and make us miserable. That's why we don't trust God, and we run away from Him, much like the hamster runs away from the gloved hand that wants to capture him and place him in a home with people who will take care of him.
I think of a story in the book, 'The Cross and the Switchblade' where David Wilkerson goes to New York City to try to reach the gangsters with the Gospel message. David preaches on a street in Brooklyn one day, and challenges the gang leaders to shake his hand. Some of the gang leaders came down and told David that his message was getting through to them. "You really bug me' was their way of saying that the message was reaching their hearts. Israel, the leader of the Mau Mau gang came down. He appreciated David's message and David explained that he was going to preach in an auditorium soon. Israel wanted to go, but a bus would have to be hired to bring the Mau Mau gang to the auditorium. Another leader in the Mau Maus was Nicky Cruz. Nicky suspected that David came to New York to break up the gangs. He would call David names and wanted to kill him. Here is how the first conversation went between Nicky and David:
David: "How do you do, Nicky?"
Nicky: "Go to hell, Preacher."
David: "You don't think much of me Nicky, but I feel differently about you. I love you Nicky."
Nicky: "You come near me Preacher, and I'll kill you" (Nicky recalls this event and says that he really meant it too).
David: "You could do that. You could cut me in a thousand pieces and lay them out in the street, and, every piece would love you."
The night came for the Mau Maus to visit St. Nicholas Arena where Davie, as they affectionately called him, would be preaching. There was the usual laughing, mocking, and other sorts of distractions in the audience. Much of it was instigated by Nicky this time. But God calmed Nicky down and he was able to listen to the words spoken by David. Nicky was no longer running away from God by the end of the meeting. In fact, this was the night he came to Christ. God took a man who was trying to wriggle his way out of God's grasp, and calmed him down enough for him to hear the words of life and saved him.
Look at the words to this song by Tenth Avenue North. It describes us as not cooperating with God when He is reaching out to us. But God is faithful, and we can trust Him.
"By Your Side"