Are you running?
Trauma, grief, bad experiences or a host of other events can cause us to run.
I’ve known people who have experienced a horrific event or lost a loved one and can’t make sense of the tragedy.
In times of grief we all experience anger at some stage. We look for someone or something toward which to direct that anger. It may be another person, or perhaps we even end up hating ourselves. But most of the time we, at least internally, claim God as the culprit and laser our anger at him, blaming the one who knows everything and sees all. Where was he when a town was flooded, an earthquake hit or innocent people were gunned down?
Sometimes running away from God seems to be the answer.
Or maybe we simply run.
Keep busy and keep our mind off the pain. Push, push, push. If we slow down, take a break, enjoy a sunset, we find the ache in our soul is still there. The stabbing memories chase us down, ready to devour us. Busyness drowns them out and exhausts us so sleep can claim our bodies, although not always our minds.
I know someone who spent most nighttime hours as keyed up and fretful as they were in the busyness of the day, a hamster on a wheel, spinning in the middle of the night.
But what if the answer to our pain is actually running toward God?
What if God wasn’t the cause of our bad situation at all? What if he sits by us, crying over our losses, but we simply can’t imagine a God like that? We’ve never heard of that God. What if instead, there is a real enemy in the world that we can’t see who is looking for ways to destroy us?
The Bible says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” I Peter 5:8
So imagine that all the destructive events in the world. What if the wars, terrorism, and famine are being orchestrated by a being in a supernatural realm, the same realm in which God dwells? God and our enemy are at war because God made and loves each of us and the devil hates God. He’s jealous of God. He wants to be God. And he wants you to serve him, not God.
So he deploys spiritual forces to whisper lies and bad will among people. He stirs up rumors that cause fighting. He impresses on others that they need bigger and better while other people go hungry. And all the while, God cries.
It’s not that he can’t stop evil.
But he won’t make people choose him. He won’t force us to run to him if we’d rather run around or run away. He longs for us to seek him because we need and want him.
So what if the devastating situation is where we find him?
What if that is where the best life begins? Where he comforts and heals us through the touch of a friend, or a stranger’s compassion, or a song, or a verse from his words to us, the Bible.
What if every single bad situation carried out by the devil could be used by God to bring us good and show others that he is real and wanting them to know him too?