is harmful to me and not something anyone wants to celebrate. Avoiding issues, minimizing hurts, and running scared is not something we give out medals for. The problem is that this type of behavior comes so naturally to me.
There are several passages about running in the Bible. Beautiful passages of hope, like Isaiah 40 which highlights that with God’s help we will not grow weary. Psalm 119 is a wonderful chapter on God’s faithfulness and wisdom, and those who choose to run in the path of His commands will find a broader understanding. Hebrews 12 challenges us to throw off worldly things meant to entangle us and run with perseverance. Perhaps one of my favorites is in 2 Timothy 4 where the apostle Paul near the end of his life describes having finished the race and the joys waiting for him in heaven.
There are also passages of great men and women of God who ran in fear, which is nothing new for humans. Adam and Eve ran and hid after they ate the fruit. Cain was nowhere near the first murder scene when God asked him where his brother was. Jacob ran from his brother and his father-in-law. Joseph’s brothers ran from the pit they threw him into so they could discuss their next move. Moses ran from Egypt. Elijah ran in fear for his life and cried out to God in heartache, thinking that all of his fellow prophets had been killed. Jonah and his famous attempt to run away only to be swallowed whole for a few days of uninterrupted self-reflection. Those familiar with the Bible are also familiar with Peter, who vowed never to leave Jesus’ side only to run away in fear and shame when challenged by a young servant girl.
Perhaps one of the most unexpected stories of running in the Bible is the parable of the prodigal son in Luke 15. Jesus used this parable of the prodigal son who ran from all of the goodness of his father’s house only to find himself in a pig pen. The son suddenly realized even his dad’s servants back home had food to eat while he was starving with the local swine. So he begins the long walk home, thinking how to convince his dad to accept him as servant, with all hopes of being accepted as a son were gone. What the son did not know was that his father stood by the road hoping for his son to return. The happy day came when from a distance the father sees his son, and the Father runs to meet his son. Before the son can beg for a job, the Father embraces him and declares his love and joy for the return of his son.
Somewhere between the hopeful passages of running with perseverance and the humbling stories of running in fear is where we find the Father. It is God’s desire that all humans find peace and rest to stop the fearful obstacle courses we so naturally build for ourselves. Instead of running scared, Jesus came to show us a new perspective, one of running toward something: relationship. In our various forms of running, we often forget that God himself ran the good race towards restoration and relationship so that we could have the joy of eternity with Him. If running has left you weary and in some messy places, I encourage you to turn your eyes to God, and you will find the Father ready to run towards you, eager to join you as together you run the good race.
Our staff is voluntold each week and with grace they share their thoughts.