Our mother took us to visit our great-grandmother in the country where the grass rolled in endless carpets of green. Grandma Cordrey’s home was a wonder to a small child. There were paintings of the Old West where cowboys ruled, museum-like artifacts on bookcases, shelves upon shelves of ancient books, and the fragrant aroma of my great-grandfather’s pipe tobacco.
We were always very careful not to touch anything but the few toys we’d brought to play with, while Grandma Ella smoked her cigarettes, laugh-coughed, and spoke with her low, gravely voice. Then it would be time to leave … and the dreaded kiss on her cheek.
I suppose I loved Grandma Ella, but I didn’t love kissing her. The smell of smoke that hung on her like an ugly old drapery and her scary voice were bad enough. Worse was her rough, dark cheek that felt like a man’s permanent five-o’clock shadow. She’d put her arms around us and draw us close for that kiss to her cheek. I’d hesitate until my mother gave me that “certain” look. I didn’t want to kiss her, but I did.
In John 6:44 Jesus said, No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him. This word “draw” is used of pulling a sword from the scabbard (John 18:10), dragging a net full of fish to shore (John 21:11), and hauling people to prison against their will (Acts 16:19). It’s a forceful act upon a stubborn, resisting, unwilling object.
Jesus said that no one goes to Him by his own choice or free-will; he must be drawn like a heavy net filled with flopping fish to shore. By nature, we don’t like God. In fact, the Bible says we hate Him with a deep-seated passion (Romans 1:30; 5:10; 8:7). That’s why we prefer a god of our own making than the God of the Bible. Rather than loving God, we love our sin. In the drawing is a powerful change of heart – a new birth, if you will – to truly love God and desire a relationship with Him. When that change of heart occurs, we willingly adore the One who loved us first, and died to prove it.