I’m really into books more than poems but I do have a couple of favourite poems. Many years ago Francis Thompson wrote a poem where he describes God as the “Hound of Heaven”, as the God who desires, pursues and actively seeks us out. Thompson describes how he fled from God, “down the nights and down the days” … “down the arches of the years” and … “down the labyrinthine ways of my own mind.” He describes God pursuing him with these words, “But with unhurrying chase, and unperturbed pace, deliberate speed, majestic instancy”. The poem then continues with Thompson’s rather unhappy life story and how God continues to seek him. In the end Thompson asks, “Is my gloom, after all, shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?” Thompson became a Christian and wrote other things but he is really only remembered for his poem “The Hound of Heaven”.

We sometimes hear testimonies where people say they “found” God but they only found Him because He was first looking for them. Like the farmer found the lost sheep, like the woman found the lost coin and like the father found his lost son. It is amazing to reflect on how much God loves us – His incredible patience, His unfailing determination and the staggering price He paid. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us.”