Are You Running From God?
It’s funny how the longer you avoid something, the harder it is to face.
At least that’s the case for me.
It’s like I build up “the thing” into a bigger “thing,” and then it seems too overwhelming…hence, the continued avoidance.
This was especially true when I was running from God.
The thought of going back to church and feeling so guilty and dirty and full of shame seemed, well, too much.
So I didn’t go.
I didn’t go to church for a really long time.
Can you relate?
This reminds me of when I spent Thanksgiving 2017 in New York with a few of my favorite family members.
The best part of this trip had to be the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. The marching bands, the celebrities, the amazing colossal balloons, us inching our way to the front of the crowd for front-row viewing—all made for an unforgettable experience.
As each float approached, we stood on tip-toes and strained our necks to get a glimpse of the superstar headed our way. One such superstar, however, did not win over my cousin. It was the New York Yankees baseball mascot.
My cousin, you see, is a die-hard Red Sox fan.
To clearly demonstrate her loyalty, she turned her back to the float, refusing to look or even acknowledge the float until it was well passed us.
This gesture of course was light-hearted and of a fun nature but indeed voiced, “Nope, I’m not having any of this. I’m no fan of yours.”
This got me thinking: How many times in the parade of life is God waving, smiling, blowing kisses, throwing love, acceptance, and forgiveness, and members of the crowd turn their backs to him saying, “No, thanks, I don’t want any. I’m no fan of yours.”
My season of back turning was quite lengthy, packed with a five-year plan and a lot of “I got this.”
Does any of this sound familiar?
You’re in a funk. Demands at work have you stressed. The kids’ schedules have you stretched. Your marriage seems to be on the back burner. Bills remind you of the mounting debt that you can’t seem to resolve. And disappointments have left you feeling inadequate.
I get it. It happens slowly. Over time.
And then before you know it, it’s been days since you’ve prayed. Weeks since you’ve sought the word. Months since you’ve been to church.
These seasons seem to sneak up on you, and before you know it, you’re making five-year plans and waving the “I got this” banner. You’re trucking along, leaving Him out, risking life on our own.
Oh, how stubborn we can be sometimes! So guilty of this.
And like me, you pretend to be self-sufficient, trying to handle everything that comes your way.
Then it happens—something reminds you of Him.
Someone speaks His name.
You come across a card of encouragement stuffed in a drawer from a past hurt, a time of fear, a time of doubt. And you think, “Can He still be great after all this time?” “Will He still accept me after all this running?”
Well my friend, He has been part of every one of these moments in your life—the running, the doubting, the fearing, the hurting.
GOD IS ALWAYS THERE
Just because you didn’t acknowledge him does not mean he was not at work, detouring and rerouting all for your protection and his glory.
Why? Because he desires to be near you. To be in relationship with you.
That’s why He gave us that spectacular gift of choice.
He already chose you. Now He wants you to choose him. He wants to do life with you, the struggles and the triumphs.
He proves it in Exodus 25:8 when he said to Moses,
And again in Exodus 29:46:
See. He wants to reside near you. The God of the universe--the one who was and is and is to come--likes you! A lot.
There’s no telling how many times He has covered you, prevented disaster, or caused you to find favor with others when you least expected it.
GOD IS PATIENT WITH US
After Moses killed an Egyptian out of vengeance and spent over forty years away from his family, God told him it was time to come back.
Moses protested, complained, and insisted he was not good enough. He even objected.
Repeatedly Moses engaged God in his doubting and fearing. But God never left. Never gave up. Never wavered. He met Moses right where he was. Comforted him. Reassured him. Practiced with him. Proved himself capable (Exodus 3-7).
Regardless of how inadequate you feel, could it be possible God is calling out to you to come home?
GOD CAN HANDLE HARD QUESTIONS
Guess what else. It’s okay to wrestle with God in your anger.
You can question Him in your doubting. You can cry out when you feel inadequate. You can debate when nothing makes sense, and everything seems to be falling apart.
Enter Jacob, the schemer. The ambitious son who took advantage of a situation to be prosperous and broke his father’s heart and his brother’s heart in the process. God knew him. He was with Jacob the whole time.
Then one night, in a fit of repentance, Jacob wrestled with God, demanding to be blessed.
God of course accepted this confrontation, forgave Jacob, and blessed him. Jacob engaged God with all of his pent-up anger and regrets. And it was okay.
GOD MAKES THE IMPOSSIBLE POSSIBLE
Then there is Joseph.
For someone who had been told by God that he would one day be a king, can you imagine how impossible that seemed?
He was a man with the righteous heart who seemed to have bad luck at every turn—from being abandoned and sold into slavery to accusations of impropriety and jail time.
Surely there was every opportunity for Joseph to feel sad, alone, and unwanted.
But God knew his heart and allowed him to find favor with man. God rerouted and detoured Joseph’s bleak situations, promoting him and receiving all the glory.
And he can do that for you too.
He sees you. He hears you. When you weep, He weeps. When you triumph, He rejoices!
He wants to know you fully, deeply, intimately. Psalm 139 is a reflection of this intimacy with the Lord:
HOW DOES THIS IMPACT YOU?
I suspect you know that God is trying to get your attention. I also suspect that you have spent quite some time avoiding him.
It’s time to stop running and face him.
You are no different than the men and women you know from the Bible. They were real people with real doubts and fears and frustrations.
And just as God sought after them, He is seeking after you.
It’s time to quit running.
It’s time to return to church.
To Do List:
Take a minute right now to google the service time. Call a friend and have her save you a seat for this Sunder. If you don’t know anyone, you can go all by yourself and arrive early to find a spot that’s right for you.
No expectations. Just show up.
Really hear the word. Allow it to minister to you. Ask God to meet you right where you are. He will. I promise.
Commit to return next Sunday.
Leave me a comment letting me how it goes.
Welcome to Rock This Revival! We’re so glad you’re here. Our heart is to serve as a lifeline when your faith has been rocked.