If Running from God were an Olympic event, I surely have participated repeatedly and won the gold.
Fool’s gold, that is.
Only world-class athletes run in this particular event—their minds are set and tremendous energy is expended striving for their ultimate outcome.
I wasn’t aware how great of an athlete I was during different races in my life. Never did I think myself a fool, but it seemed that different, life-changing blows signaled the starter’s pistol…and BANG, out of the starting blocks I bolted.
One would think that with some spiritual background or calling, running-from-God events are specific to those already far from God.
People who love God can fill a pair of sneakers quite well. Bible athletes like Jonah, Moses, or Peter may not have sported a pair of Nikes, but they definitely took off when things got uncomfortable.
The “training” required for this type of event is familiar. After opposition or heartbreak, we do several knee bends by our bedside to pray; we stretch our heart out to others and seek their prayers. We jog through the pages of scripture for a word that will directly address our situation.
We assume all the “right” training postures, yet miss some important aspects of training altogether.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:11 NIV).
Ask any real Olympian and I’m sure they will say that disciplining their bodies for peak performance is tough but required.
Yet, when believers are confronted with heartbreak that confuses and cripples emotional control, we crave for the experience to be over yesterday! Yesterday comes and goes, and goes, and goes; then it’s off to the race track.
Running from God is just another way of telling Him that you would be a better author of your own story.
Sadly, running keeps us away from a blessed pruning season. This is a kind of training that awakens us to certain character flaws, mindsets, or sins. It greatly aids in mind renewal and helps us begin eliminating the very things that keep us bound in brokenness.
Other times, God has told us exactly what to do but we fail to obey because of pain. Pain can train us to pick up a faster pace because we don’t care too much for His instruction. And the dust we kick up while running falls squarely on the face of Grace.
These training short-cuts do not lead us anywhere. They are fleshly or worldly responses to the hard races in life. A fool repeats his folly (Proverbs 26:11) and never lands on the victor’s podium.
…I run with passion into his abundance so that I may reach the purpose that Jesus Christ has called me to fulfill and wants me to discover (Philippians 3:12 TPT).
The apostle Paul ran into Christ’s abundance—His presence, His anointing, His grace—and pressed in because Paul knew that was where his hope and fortitude would be found to get through his race. He ran focused and disciplined.
Joy and peace are the byproducts (the gold, the harvest) of His abundance. And Paul enjoyed the fruit of discipline right in the middle of his race, not when it was over.
It is the same for us.
We humans do not like pain. It weighs, it crushes, it consumes. And it’s usually the deep, unhealed wounds that have us back in the blocks, ready to spring toward solutions that deceptively promise a quick way out.
How many times do we decide what is best for us? Can we recall the accounts of self-reliance or independence that took us farther from Christ’s abundance that was ours during a painful season?
If we dismiss the training of being pruned; or if pain trains us to obey our own rules of engagement, we ultimately forfeit hearing His sweet words, “This is the way; walk in it” (Isaiah 30:21).
It is these very words that will stop us mid-stride and course-correct us toward Him rather than from Him, thus beginning the important training of trusting.
Trusting that the Lord will get you through harrowing times comes by way of intimacy, in your relationship with Him. It the practice or discipline of being in His presence where healing begins.
Keeping pace toward Grace with a surrendered heart and listening ear is key and vital in order for kingdom-class athletes to run in every hard race. This kind of running positions your heart beautifully for God to show up and to show out!
There is only one Author of your story and you are not called to edit. Your destiny story is already written in His heart and He will see that it gets read.
The apostle Paul’s story has been read and we marvel at his faith. We recount how he pursued the abundance that was found in Christ which helped him get from A to Z.
Our stories are no less important. We all have a role to play in the kingdom, but we have to diligently train ourselves to trust Him with the chapters of our lives.
And know this, God only writes best-sellers!