Running from Jesus, when I should have fallen into his arms.
Have you ever heard of Roger Bannister? Roger Bannister was the first male to successfully run a sub four minute mile. For those of you who are unaware of what this means, it means that he ran a mile in less than four minutes. His exact time was three minutes and fifty nine seconds. Up until this point no one had ever accomplished this task, and therefore believed it impossible. However, right after Roger Bannister ran the sub four minute mile, people began achieving this goal like crazy. It was like the spread of a wildfire. All they needed was for one person to do it, and bam, they figured they could do it too. In high school, I was a runner. Not a very good one might I add, but I enjoyed running. I did cross country and track and ran for fun (I know that sounds awful, but bear with me). Although I was horrible at running physically, I was an expert at running spiritually. I set every record in running away from God and letting my problems fester.
When I was a junior in high school I got this boyfriend. I was super excited because he was the star running back of my school and I was a varsity cheerleader so naturally, I thought we were going to be a power couple. The issue was, we did not believe in the same things. We had two separate ideas of who Jesus was. Now for a while, it wasn’t a problem. He was a great guy and he treated me very well. My dad liked him, my mom liked him, and my little brother adored him. which only made it that much easier to fall in love with him. Knowing that eventually we would have to end our relationship, I let myself fall head over heels for this boy.
About eight months after we started dating we got into a few arguments regarding religion. I was stubborn, and so was he. Neither one of us was going to budge on what we believed. So we fought and then would kiss and make up. No big deal right? Wrong. After about a year I knew God was telling me that I had had my fun and it was time for me to move on and grow in my faith. Of course, being the expert runner that I was, I took off. I wanted nothing to do with God. I wanted him to change my boyfriend’s mind on his beliefs so that we could believe the same things and all would be right in my world. But that didn’t happen and I was so angry. I figured God can do anything so why didn’t he change him? Why didn’t he fix the problem? So I ran.
After many months of being exhausted from running, I finally sat down and prayed. I cried and let all of my emotion take over. And I mean it was an ugly cry. God allowed me to realize that maybe I was just a part of his life to plant a seed. Sometimes you plant the seed, but don’t necessarily get to see it grow. And although it was hard, I finally was able to accept that it was time to be done. After this I knew it was time to end my relationship. So I did. And it was one of the hardest things I have ever done. Of course what didn’t make it any easier was the fact that when I broke his heart he said “I hope that one day you find someone that can give you the world because you deserve the world.” And I walked away. Yet, for months I still felt empty. I had let this boy take over the hole in my heart that is reserved for Jesus and when he left, instead of turning to Jesus I busied myself in everyday life. Or went back to the boy for comforting words. I chased a friendship that wasn’t healthy. I was still running.
Finally, after months of running I collapsed into the arms of Jesus. And let me tell you, it is the best decision I have ever made. The bible has many stories about people that run away from God only to realize that he is there every step of the way. Take for example, the prodigal son. For those of you that do not know this story I will summarize it. Basically the father of two sons has inheritance money for each son for when he dies. The youngest son, rebellious as ever, asks his dad for his full inheritance so that he can go into the world and live it up. As sad as it makes him, the father gives it to him anyway. The son goes out into the world and parties, and feasts, and parties some more. Until he basically has nothing left. By the time he has spent all of his money, he ends up getting a job feeding pigs. He is so hungry that he eats the slop that he is supposed to feed his pigs. He finally comes to the realization that even his father’s servants live better than this so he leaves and makes the trek home. While on his way back the father sees him and comes running at him with open arms. The son is in awe. He apologizes and to his dismay the father tells the servants to prepare a feast and bring the son his best robe and throws a party. The father says words that pierce my heart every time. He says , “Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is now found.” (Luke 15:23-24 NIV)
You see, even when we run so far away to where we believe we can never be forgiven, the Lord is waiting, watching, for us to get home. And the minute we turn around, he will not stop for a second to meet us halfway. We are not running alone. He is there, always, Waiting for us to return home. It took me forever to realize this and I exhausted myself running away from the one thing that could bring me rest. You see psalm 32 says “when I kept silent, my bones wasted away, through my groaning all day long…Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.” While we run, and while we wait our bones waste away. They cannot handle the pound against the pavement day in and day out. All you have to do is stop and allow Jesus to give you rest.
No matter how badly you have sinned, or how far away you have run, it is never to late to stop running and fall into the arms of Jesus. Let him carry you when you are too tired to even walk.
A prayer for you:
Lord, please carry the burdens I have held on to for so long. Please give me rest and comfort and peace in the fact that you are there, that you have always been waiting for me to come home. Lord I am ready to come home. Take my heart and make it new, so that I may know that your grace is sufficient for me. In Jesus name, Amen.
Many blessings to you all! Hope this is fuel for your week!