God is willing to leave the 99 in order to search for the stray, lost one. He pursues us. I don’t think he ever stops pursuing us, whether we nonchalantly stray or run away with determination and rejection.
But he knows the process (and the outcome), and he is patient. Consider the prodigal son and his father. The son demanded what was “his.” (His entitlement makes me cringe. Yet it also makes me chuckle. He demands to sever all connection from his father yet leans into him and wants him to provide. Many people do the same with God – rejects him when life with him is inconvenient but looks to him when needing something.)
The father gives generously. I imagine he was heartbroken as his son – someone he loved tremendously and sacrificed for generously – walked away. But the father didn’t run after him. He didn’t roam the city streets to retrieve him. He didn’t try to find him in the pig pen and clean him up. He waited until his son turned homeward.
Then he ran toward him. He greeted and welcomed him with abundance.
God pursues with patience and wisdom. He knows the best approach. Follow his lead. Determinedly seek out reconciliation when it is right. Take a step back when someone’s choices are making the timing of reconciliation wrong. Discern well. Patiently pursue.