The English poet Francis Thompson (1859-1907) is well-known for his 182-line poem, “The Hound of Heaven.” Such literary giants as G. K. Chesterton and J. R. R. Tolkien praised the poem for its symbolism and portrayal of God’s grace. In the poem, as a hound pursues a hare relentlessly, “so does God follow the fleeing soul by His Divine grace” (in the words of J. F. X. O’Conor, S.J.).
Recommended Reading: Ezekiel 34:16
16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.”
The image of God as the “Hound of Heaven” could be applied to all Christians on the basis of Romans 3:11b: “There is none who seeks after God.” If there is to be any “finding” of God by man, it will also be the result of God’s initiative. Christians often use the phrase in describing their salvation: “I found the Lord [at such-and-such an age].” That language is helpful in a practical sense even if incorrect theologically. We don’t find God; He finds us after seeking us “by His Divine grace.” As Jesus Himself said, He came “to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).
The simplest answer to the question, “How were you saved?” is found in the words of Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace you have been saved . . . .” God seeks us and saves us by grace.
Our afflictions prepare us for receiving the grace of God.