Bob Buford tells a story about dog races in his book Finishing Well that rattled my heart when I first read it and continues to shake me:
“One of my favorite stories is about the dog races in Florida. They train these dogs to chase an electric rabbit, and one night the rabbit broke down and the dogs caught it. But they didn’t know what to do with it. They were just leaping around, yelping and biting one another, totally confused about what was happening. I think that’s a picture of what happens to all sorts of people who catch the rabbit in their life. Whether its wealth or fame or beauty or a bigger house or whatever, the prize isn’t what they thought it would be. And when they finally get it, they don’t know what to do with their lives.”
What rabbits have you caught in your life? I’ve caught a lot of rabbits in my life. And, like the dogs, they usually hang lifeless in my jaws once caught. It’s not long until I drop them and find another on the horizon, and then I’m off once again.
A romantic interest. A degree. A job. A car. A dream vacation. A spouse. A family. A home. Respect. Power. Fame. You can catch them all. And they’re all good (or at least can be used for good). But none are ultimate. Each will flop lifeless in your jaws once it’s caught and another will appear on the horizon.
Jim Carey, one of the few to have success as both a comedic and a dramatic actor, and whose net worth tops $150 million once said, “I think everybody should get rich and famous and do everything they ever dreamed of so they can see that it’s not the answer.”
There is only one rabbit worth chasing: God himself. He is the only rabbit who can be caught and, at the same time, remain elusive. In Christ you can catch God.[i] And yet, because he is infinite, you will never really catch him. Once you’ve tasted the true presence of God, you should know that nothing else will ever satisfy the way he can.
Only God is infinitely interesting. Only God is infinitely beautiful. Only God is infinitely compelling.
As Augustine famously said, “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.” Ask God for forgiveness for the rabbits your heart has been and currently is chasing. Then set your sights on the only one worth chasing and chase him with all your might.
[i] I ask for your allowance of this artistic liberty, I understand none of us can ever catch God. He is the one who catches us.