Recently, I shared I was on a mission when Reggie approached me about beginning a relationship with a view towards marriage. The mission was the pursuit of the things the devil stole that I could get back after a previous relationship ended. As much as I wished—shoot, still wish—it were different, I couldn’t get Reggie back. I could go to him, but he wouldn’t return to me (2 Samuel 12:23).
And he said, "While the child was alive, I fasted and wept; for I said, 'Who can tell whether the Lord will be gracious to me, that the child may live?' But now he is dead; why should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me." ~2 Samuel 12:22-23
No, I couldn’t get Reggie back, but I could get back other things the devil stole when he ripped Reggie from my life. As I did after that previous relationship, I could get back my peace, my hopes, my trust, my perspective, my positive self-talk, the vision I had of my future, and other parts of my life with Reggie that were casualties of his passing. I could have another extraordinary life.
And for the things I couldn’t get back or no longer wanted, like my marriage to Reggie and that previous relationship, respectively, I could have another one. Like with Reggie, I could even have a better one. It was possible. It’s still possible.
Creating a New Life Requires Pursuit
That’s where I am today. I’ve moved from the seemingly impossible at the time (living without Reggie) to the possible (creating a new life). As part of creating that new life, I’m on a mission to get back some of the things the enemy stole.
In fact, this article is part of that pursuit because one of the things the devil stole was my writing. At the time of Reggie’s death, Reggie and I published a monthly newsletter, A Stitch in Time, that provided insights on how to navigate pre-marital relationships. Also, I’d just begun freelance writing with a piece in Christian Home & School magazine, “Preparing Your Child for Changing Relationships.”
Both the newsletter and the freelancing were steps I took in pursuit of my writing career. That pursuit came to a screeching halt after Reggie died. It was revived with my blog, which hit a bump along the way and is under attack even as I write this. As we see from my experience, and possibly your own, recovering what the devil stole is a process.
Pursuit is Part of the Recovery Process
The process begins with grieving, but ends with recovery. I don’t want to sleep that because you might be in pain right now.
But pain is the first step to healing. Think about it. There’s no healing where there isn’t first pain—because there’s no need to heal what never hurt. And for some of us, part of that healing is recovering what we lost.
Pain is the first step to healing. Think about it. There’s no healing where there isn’t first pain—because there’s no need to heal what never hurt.
The insights I extracted from David’s experience (1 Samuel 30:1-31) show us that recovery is a process. The third step in that process is pursuing what we lost.
Some things aren’t going to just come to you. The devil already demonstrated he’s willing to fight you when he attacked you and stole from you in the first place. When he stole from you, the devil hoped to scare you into thinking you couldn’t have it. For a while, you may have thought that, but I’m here to tell you that isn’t true. You can have it. It’s just some things take effort. God wants you to pursue them
And Matthew 7:7-8 shows us three ways to do just that—to pursue, to go after what you want: (1) ask, (2) seek, and (3) knock. Each of these three methods of pursuit has a spiritual and a practical aspect. The spiritual aspect is, of course, prayer. Whereas, the practical aspect could take many forms. They also have an order where each one progresses in intensity (Ask –> Seek –> Knock).
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. ~Matthew 7:7-8
In the months following Reggie’s death, I didn’t doubt God’s ability to fulfill my requests. I doubted his willingness to do so—at least in ways that protected me from pain, especially the kind of devastating pain I experienced due to Reggie’s passing.
As a result, my prayer life suffered. Oh, I still prayed, just not for me. I prayed corporately and for others, but not for myself. As a result, I missed out because I didn’t ask (James 4:2d).
The same is true practically. In the real world, we often fail to ask people for things for the same reason I failed to ask God—pain avoidance. We don’t ask because we are trying to avoid the pain of rejection.
Ironically, I don’t really have this problem when it comes to people. You see, my father raised me with the philosophy, “Don’t tell yourself no; make someone else do it.” What my father had already figured out is often people say yes. Also, even if they tell you no, you are no worse off. You didn’t have it to begin with. So, instead of fearing people’s no, I encourage you to pursue their yes.
Spiritually, I don’t just ask God, but seek His will on the matter (Matthew 6:33). I don’t already know His will like I do with my desires. I have to seek it out.
I don’t just want what I want. I’ve upped the ante. Now, I want what God wants for me (i.e., His truth, His Kingdom, etc.). For instance, I don’t just want to write a blog post. I want to write a blog post that will bless His people.
Practically, with ask, I imagine asking those who are visible and readily available to me. But with seek, I envision myself going in search of that which is available, but not necessarily visible to me. For instance, when looking for a job, I may ask family, friends, and others in my network if they know of any openings or to be on the lookout for me.
If that doesn’t bear fruit, I could then seek a position by searching job sites for openings. These positions are open and available, but prior to my search, they weren’t visible to me. I found them because I pursued them.
With knock, we again progress in intensity. Knocking provokes an image of something currently unavailable or inaccessible because it’s behind a door. The lack of immediate availability gives a sense of resistance.
Spiritually, this reminds me of Daniel’s prayer. God heard and dispatched an angel in response immediately, but the adversary delayed the angel’s arrival (Daniel 10:11-14). In other words, in those instances when we believe what we asked and sought God for is in His will, but has yet to arrive, we have to persist. By persisting, we join the angels in the spiritual battle delaying the manifestation of our request. Sometimes joining God in creating our new lives requires us to get in the fight.
Sometimes joining God in creating our new lives requires we get in the fight.
Practically, we can meet resistance too. We encounter situations where what we’re pursuing isn’t readily available or easily accessible. What we pursue is behind a door, so we need to knock to gain access to what is behind the door.
For example, we can’t find a job. In this situation, we may have to create our own job—as I am doing by writing my book. This requires even more work than seeking, but sometimes, pursuing requires more.
Pursuing requires more. Creating a life He loves and you enjoy requires action.
It requires acting on our faith. Many of us fail to reap the harvest because we fail to act. We believe, but we fail to act. Today, I encourage you to act. I encourage to pursue your dreams because creating a life He loves and you enjoy requires action.
- What has the enemy stolen from you that you want and can get back? What can you get back that you are willing to pursue?
- How has not pursing hindered your recovery? Creating a new life?
- In what ways can you ask, seek and knock in pursuit of creating your new life?