I read this verse earlier this week as part of a Thanksgiving devotional. I'm still sorting out what it means for me to "follow hard". Matthew Henry's commentary says that it speaks of "a very earnest desire and a serious vigorous endeavor to keep up communion with God". And Charles Spurgeon says "we follow close at the Lord's heels, because we are one with Him."
My desire is to follow Him wholeheartedly, unreservedly, with determination.
I want to be filled and saturated by Him.
I want to worship Him with my whole being.
I want to follow hard after Him.
My word for this year has been "Embrace". Across the months my greatest lessons have been the most private and painful. I've had to let go and grieve and I've had to embrace and accept. I suppose this is all a part of following hard.
As this year is winding down and I look ahead to the year that is coming I am setting new goals. One of the things that I am looking forward to the most scares me and yet fills me with joy. This too must be a part of following hard after Him. I am learning that intimate communion with Him is the only thing that will carry me through each challenge that I am called to face.
Following hard is a calling.
Following hard is a way of life.
Following hard is a daily commitment.
I know that I cannot accept this calling, embrace this way of life, or keep this daily commitment in my own strength.
The last part of verse 8 says "Your right hand upholds me". Matthew Henry says "those that follow hard after God would soon fail and faint if God's right hand did not uphold them." Isn't it a comfort to know that the divine power of God will hold us up and strengthen us as we determine to cling closely to Him and follow Him passionately?!
May we experience the grace-filled strength of His right hand supporting us each step of the way!