Stop Running Away

”Where can I go from your Spirit?
   Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
   if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
   if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
   your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me
   and the light become night around me,’
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
   the night will shine like the day,
   for darkness is as light to you.” – Psalm 139:7-12 (NIV)

My brother and I spent most of our childhood summer days at our grandparents’ farm.  We had a lot of fun, playing in the woods, feeding the chickens and cows… and getting into fights.  And if we messed up, we knew what the consequences would be.  Grandpa had a bad heart, so he was no real threat.  And while our grandma ran a tight ship and put up with no nonsense, we knew where the real punishment would come from.

Dad.

Oh no… wait until your father gets home.  Oh man…

I remember the feeling.  The trembling nerves, the clenched knot in the pit of the stomach.  The trouble was gonna hit the fan.  We were in for it.  We had definitely had it.  We had sealed our fate.  If tomorrow came for us, we would thank God for sparing us from the horrific punishment that surely faced us when Dad came home.

But, here’s the deal.  We survived every time.  In our minds, Dad was going to get us for whatever we had done.  In fact, the fear of punishment was far greater than anything Dad ever meted out.  He loved us.  He wasn’t abusive or anything.  It was just that, whatever we had done wrong, the fear of punishment made the consequences seem so awful…

Maybe today you are running from your Father – your Heavenly Father.  Maybe you have sinned and think you are beyond saving.  Maybe you are dealing with feelings of shame that keep you from believing you can go to God.  Maybe the pain of guilt is so acute that you cannot imagine the punishment you think is awaiting you.

Listen to me… God is not out to get you.  You are not “in for it.”  God wants you to come to Him.  He wants to forgive you, to restore you.  “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9, NIV).  Today – right this second – stop running from God.  He loves you.  God loves you. 

God loves you.

You.

Get that in your soul.  Read those words over and over until they soak in and become real to you.

Know this: no matter what you have done, you are not going to surprise God.  He is not going to hear your confession, gulp and exclaim, “You did WHAT??!!”  Guess what: God already knows.  Confessing isn’t revealing anything to God.  Confession causes us to be aware of our sin.  It is one think to know when we mess up.  It is another to hear the words come out of our mouths in our own voice. 

You cannot outrun the Lord.  Turn around, run to God, confess your sins and ask for forgiveness.  And receive the forgiveness and restoration of your soul by faith in God through Jesus Christ.  Remember, when God forgives, He truly – thoroughly – forgives.  There is no memory of your sin.  You are cleansed – your record expunged. 

So… today – now – please…. stop running away.  You don’t need to avoid the Lord.  Go to Him.  Ask Him for forgiveness.  Live free of guilt and shame.  Live free in God!!  He is faithful, and He loves you. 

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