“Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence?” – Psalm 139:7
Did you ever try to run away from home when you were little? Most of us at least entertained the idea once or twice. Many of us may have even packed a bag. Others made it to the end of the driveway. I believe my own attempt ended halfway down the street we lived on. Some of us tried to run away because we wanted the glamorous life of the circus; ahh childhood naievete. Others may have read Around the World in 80 days and wanted adventure. But I would bet that most of us ran because of some perceived injustice we suffered at the hands of our parents. “That’s not fair” we would yell “I’ll run away and then you’ll be sorry,” we would shout as we stormed off with all the determination a six or seven year old could muster…clenching our fists and perhaps slamming a door just for good measure. Soon thereafter we would have second thoughts; and in all truth and honesty we were never in any danger. Our parents were usually very aware of our whereabouts but simply gave us the space we need for the time that we needed it. And if we did happen to slip away…well, they wouldn’t have rested until every stone was unturned and we were found safe and sound.
It seems though that even as we all contemplated running away from home we all also contemplate running away from God. We are all familiar with those who run away to “find themselves.” You get out on your own for the first time, experiencing untold amounts of freedom, and you figure that the faith of your childhood can be spurned, or at least put on hold for a time. Others run because they are mad at God. A prayer wasn’t answered, an unexpected tragedy occurs, you don’t see God acting in the ways that you expected him to and BAM, you run from God. God wasn’t who you thought he was so he no longer gets your devotion. Still others simply find God unfathomable in today’s fast paced secular world. He’s a myth, a fairy tale; we say. I’ll pay him no mind. These are the familiar, expected ways that people run from God. Perhaps you’ve run from him in the past for these reasons…perhaps you’re running from him now for these reasons.
Still, there are far more discreet ways that people run from God; even the person running may not know it. Some run from God out of pure apathy. Life gets busy, our attention is drawn towards other, “more pressing” matters, and we’re off and running from God. Still others run out of rote familiarity. Our faith has become so practiced and familiar that we just go through the motions. This is perhaps why some can’t stomach any change at all…it would interrupt their running from God. Finally, others run because they’ve created their faith and their God in their own image. God acts the way I think he should. The church believes, teaches, and practices what I think it does. I think it so it is. And there you have it…you’re off and running from God towards… yourself. These are the unfamiliar and unexpected ways that people run from God. Perhaps this is how you run…perhaps you’re running from God now in this way…perhaps you’ve been running from him this way for years unaware.
The bottom line is this: we all run; at sometime in our life; in someway in our life; we run from God. Moses tried to wiggle out of God’s call on his life. Jonah did run away. The disciples hid away in the upper room. We all run. Psalm 139 speaks of this truth. In my Bible I’m working from this Psalm is titled The Inescapable God. Wherever we go, there is God. Our parents echo who God is for us. When we run God gives us a bit of space and time. He knows where we are, he knows what we’re feeling, what we’re thinking, what we’re going through. Even if we do get away he’ll turn heaven and earth to get us back…he did it once before in Jesus. Remember, at Jesus’ death for us the earth shook and the heavens were torn apart. Where we go there God is; always with us and always ready for us when we fall exhausted into his arms from all that running we’re doing. God is inescapable.