For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
If thou wilt return, O Israel, saith the Lord, return unto me: and if thou wilt put away thine abominations out of my sight, then shalt thou not remove.
Then shall ye call upon me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
Yesterday I considered how God plays the long game, patiently waiting for us to return to Him by our own volition. And frankly, this is a very hard thing that he expects us to do. Arguably the work of returning to God is the most difficult we do in this life.
The way back is through repentance, sometimes-painful self-examination, the mourning of wounds both inflicted and received, the overcoming of our powerful vices, and the healing of doubts and fears.
And again, He expects us to enroll ourselves in this process. He still adamantly refuses to make that choice for us.
And…we do it. Nowhere is the nobility of God’s children more clear in how we commit ourselves to this most grand endeavor. As this verse suggests, we search for Him with all our heart. We call, we seek, we put in what it takes to come back home.
If thou wilt return, return unto me: then shalt thou not remove.
And the genius of this plan is that it means when we come back to God, we come back firmly! Satan’s methods might procure more immediate results, but God’s procure lasting ones. We all leave God once, but once we return with our whole heart, it is very few that ever leave Him again.