Two young men said the same thing to me as I led them at separate times to the restroom to change after being baptized at our church last weekend. It was my group’s task and privilege to direct the soaking wet people to the facilities so they wouldn’t get lost. I congratulated them again before pointing out the basket for their towels sitting outside the restrooms.
As we walked, both said they had been running from God for years. One said it had been a decade. They both knew God was calling out to them, pursuing them with his kindness and love. I don’t know either one personally, but at our church, each week we celebrate each person who decides to start a relationship with Jesus. Then, every couple of months, we have baptism Sunday during which time after our services, believers choose to be submerged in water to show publicly the choice they made in their heart. It’s an incredible time of hearing how God has loved his children into his arms through his grace.
I don’t know if you’ve been running from God or you know him and have just been running from something he’s told you to do. Maybe you didn’t even realize you were running until reading this, but now you feel a tugging at your heart, and you know that it’s God.
Both young men described the place where they finally let go of trying to figure out things their own way and gave in to God. Their radiant faces and excited voices proved they were so glad they did.
Another young man being baptized said he’d been in a state of deep depression for ten years. I’m not sure how old he was (everyone looks young to this aging lady now), but I thought how sad he had struggled through what appeared to be his teen and/or young adult years. He showed up at our church only a few days prior to this, said yes to Jesus, and for the first time in years was free from the heaviness of depression.
We cheered with him.
I later learned that one of the guys I walked with had been a serious gang member before he quit running and gave in to Jesus. A woman shared how she lost her son and so many other things in recent years. After turning to Jesus, she found love and peace, a community to be a part of, and the man who she claimed is the “love of her life.” The truth of this showed in the way he stood with tears in his eyes, supporting her and celebrating with her.
Story after story of young, even children, and old—a woman closer to my age who knew Jesus but had never been baptized—told of how they just said “yes.”
It’s that simple.
God created and loves all of us. He won’t stop pursuing us with that love even if we turn to a life of crime, ignore him, or think we aren’t worthy. He doesn’t want to shame us or condemn us, he wants to cover us and draw us into a close relationship with him. Jesus took all our sin on him to make the way clear for us to enter into the holy presence of God.
It’s as simple as stopping our running, turning around, and running into his arms.
If you’ve been running, you can stop now and tell him you’re sorry, you need him, and you want him to change your life with his forgiveness, grace, and presence.
Yes, it’s that simple.