With eyes lit up and curly hair flying wild, my grandson, Ari, will often say, “Papa, chase me!” He is three, so it actual sounds more like “chastch me”—a combination of chase and catch. So around the kitchen table and into the living room we run, giggles and ear-piercing shrieks making it impossible for Ari to hide behind the couch.
Then he is caught, sometimes tickled, hugged, or tossed into the air—always squealing with delight, always loved wildly by Papa. The wisdom of the child grasps that the whole point of the game is the joy of being caught and being loved.
I think teens and young adults play “Chase me!” too. In the midst of insecurities and identity crises, many teens run from their parents and from God. Often this is a way of testing the love of both. The face of a teen defying loving parents is often saying, “Chase me!” It is asking if the parents’ love is strong and constant enough to pursue them in their rebellion and ugliness. They may, however, have forgotten the point of the game—getting caught and being held by arms of those who love them. Even so, buried in all that turmoil and confusion is a longing to get caught. Some parents must run a marathon of unfailing love.
Even as adults, we can play “chase me” in our relationship with God. We hide in our busyness and quickly explain away the sound of His steps pursuing us. We can harden our hearts and wriggle out of His arms when the Holy Spirit catches our heart and calls us home. The game only works if we want to be caught, and too many adults have made other things more important than being caught up in the arms of a loving God.
However, an instinct for “chase me” beats within the human heart. We long for love that pursues. We want that Father that runs down the road and enfolds the prodigal son in His arms. We desperately need a good shepherd that leaves the ninety-nine sheep and chases the one that is lost. We long for God’s unfailing love and fierce pursuit. Human love can be spotty and for some comes only once in a blue moon. But God’s love is unrelenting; it shakes the gates of hell and breaks the chains of sin.
In every heart is not just the cry “Chase me!” but also the cry, “Catch me!” The point of the game is love and relationship. Ari has it right: “Chastch me!”