We currently live on a peninsula. There are lots of little fingers of roads like the one that we're off of in New Zealand. One way in, one way out. There's very little crime in our area with not much of an escape route available. In fact, a friend who is a police detective says that it's not very smart to be in a criminal in New Zealand at all. It's a small country surrounded by water. He says, "Unless you find a way to leave the country, if I have evidence against you I WILL find you. It's only a matter of time."
Since running from the law in New Zealand seems futile, how much more ludicrous is it to try to run from an omnipotent God? So why does anyone try?
"Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,” even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." (Ps. 139: 7-12)
Yet there are days where I run. Oh, not in a physical sense like Jonah who ended up thrown into the sea, and usually not even consciously, but subtly in my heart. Something hurts, discourages, disappoints and I find that my heart becomes hard or just a bit closed.
I hate feeling 'away' from Him. There's no peace, no joy, no hope. Yet, sometimes I linger in that condition for a while and I'm not sure why. Maybe I'm somewhat angry? Maybe in my humanness it seems just too hard to run back to Him? Maybe the enemy is working overtime to distract and discourage and I'm still vulnerable to his schemes? Maybe I still stupidly want to do it on my own? Maybe, maybe maybe.....
But the point that I tend to forget is that while may I have run, He hasn't. He meets me where I am. No matter how far I have travelled, He's still only a small step away. A very small step of crying out, "Help!"
|Photo by Beth Waterman|
Sometimes I hesitate to call thinking that He must be so tired of my failures. How could I not have trusted like the Israelites yet again when He has always been so trustworthy? How could I have become anxious when He is the 'peace that passes understanding'? How could my heart feel cold to the One who died for me?
How limited is my human thinking of the Divine.
Instead I try to back-paddle my way to Him in my own efforts. I try to remove that thin veil myself instead of letting Him do what He's wanting to do all along; be with me and carry me through thick and thin. "For He knows how weak we are; He remembers we are only dust." (Ps. 103:14) And yet, "...the love of the Lord remains forever..." (vs. 17)
And: "The Lord your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, he will quiet you with his love, he will rejoice over you with singing." (Zeph. 3:17)
I can say this with reverent, awestruck confidence: "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes." (Job 19: 25-27)
So why are there still days when I run?
A friend plans to run a half marathon this Sunday. She's put a lot of time, energy and effort into preparing for this run. She's fit as a fiddle and ready to go, but I've seen what a commitment it's been for her to prepare for this for the first time at 40. She's had an admirable, positive goal-----but running from God is not!
What massive energy I waste when I do.
I want to embrace Him each and every day. HE knows my weaknesses, HE knows my 'frame,' yet His nail scared hand is always outstretched even closer to me than I know. I want to grasp His hand every day and say with the wisdom of one of my favorite philosophers:
"Any day spent with you is my favorite day. So today is my new favorite day."
-Winnie the Pooh
Hanging up my running shoes today.