Have you ever felt like running away? No, really, have you ever just wanted to pack up your clothes, take whatever money you have out of the bank, get in your car, take a plane, boat, train anything and just drop off the map? Become invisible, to everyone, and everything, the IRS, your family, all of your obligations. Being fully engaged with the busyness of our daily schedules, pressing deadlines and the weight of our many responsibilities, if you are like most people you at times have at least had a fleeting thought or desire to escape it all, even if just for a short time….Just leave, simply disappear.
So many people choose to run away from it all, however when you run away from anything you inevitably run into something. Some people become addicted to substances or some type of external relationships, believing that is where they can find themselves. It will only feed into the deep inner insecurity and create more distance from themselves, and the true source of their joy. There are so many who can’t stop running from one place to the next, always looking for the next big thing or just looking for anything, thinking they can outrun the problems of life.
These same thoughts and feelings can manifest themselves in relation to our spiritual lives as well. However, it is impossible for believers to successfully run from God. In Psalm 139:7 David writes, “Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?” He seems to answer his own question in the ensuing verses “If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” Ultimately the Psalmist concludes there is no escaping God.
Although, in Jonah 1:3 a fellow by the name of Jonah tried to run from God he took a ship “to flee to Tarshish and from the presence of the Lord”. How do we as modern day believers attempt to run from God? Ultimately, we seek what pleases us rather than what the Lord desires for us. Today, our reasons may have changed. Maybe what God asks of us just does not fit our plans or His requests take us too far out of our personal comfort zone. Whatever the specific details might be, we often are tempted to run from God’s call. And if that is our choice, God grants us the freedom to do just that – – -run. But there are consequences.
Today, we may not literally run from God as Jonah did, but we often fill our lives with so many other things there simply is no room or time for us to follow God’s call. These things that get in the way may be good things, and we could even have sound reasons for their inclusion in our life, but whether we consciously use them or not, we tend to run from the parts of God’s call we are uncomfortable with.
It is one of the clearest signs of God’s love for us that regardless of how far we might run from Him, the return trip requires only one step. But that one step often is the most difficult because it requires we humble ourselves and acknowledge our dependence on God and the rightness of his judgment and call on our lives. It is because of the difficulty of letting go of our pride that we often fail to take this step until we are exhausted, burned out or worse in the belly of a fish.