Have you heard the saying, “You can run, but you can’t hide?” These words don’t exactly convey a “warm, fuzzy” feeling. (By the way, if you didn’t get a warm fuzzy last week, e-mail me. We have one at the Wesley Foundation just for you.) They either evoke images of IRS agents seeking after those persons falling behind on tax payments or a crazy stalker from a badly made horror film. Why is it we equate hiding with safety? I guess if we live long enough, each of us experiences things that cause enough pain to make us want to run away from anything that could resemble it in the future. A good way to escape the pain of the past is to hide from potential pain in the present and future. It’s logical. Maybe it works. For someone out there I haven’t met yet.
All of us (myself included) try to avoid pain in life. But the fact is, no matter how hard we try we cannot avoid every negative thing that might come our way. But what does happen is that in hiding from life we do cut ourselves off from many opportunities for joy, love, new life, and peace. And many times we are running away from the very One who wants to deliver us from the heartache of living in the first place. The truth is, we may try to escape God, but we can never really leave His presence:
Where can I go from your spirit? Or where can I flee from your presence? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there. If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea, even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast. Psalm 139: 7-10
We can run, but we cannot hide from the Presence of the Lord. And this is not a bad thing. I will never forget the first time I read Margaret Wise Brown’s children’s book The Runaway Bunny. It begins, “Once there was a little bunny who wanted to run away. So he said to his mother, ‘I am running away.’ ‘If you run away,’ said his mother, ‘I will run after you. For you are my little bunny.’” And sure enough, she did. It did not matter where the little bunny would go, the Mama was sure to follow. Finally the little bunny gives up: “’Shucks,’ said the bunny, ‘I might just as well stay where I am and be your little bunny.’ And so he did. ‘Have a carrot,’ said the mother bunny.”
How tender and funny our Lord is. When we run away to hide from God, God is always there. It is like trying to run away from the air that surrounds us, from the skin that envelopes us. It just cannot be done. And when all is said and done, and we finally give up our hiding, God invites us to share His goodness. He is tender and gentle like that Mama bunny, offering us the thing we are most hungry for anyway. There is no rebuke, simply open arms waiting to receive us back, wanting to throw a party to celebrate our return.
So what are you running from? What if you stopped running and stopped hiding and simply listened for the still, small voice of the Lord who loves you? What if your deepest longing was just moments away from being answered by His loving Presence, and your deepest hurt was just moments away from being healed?
What if He really is everything He says He is?
God loves you so much.
From someone on the journey too,