The hardest times in my life was when I knew to do the right thing but I chose the wrong thing. Like Paul, "Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me" (Romans 7: 21-23). I am pretty sure things could have been easier if I stopped running away from the will of God for my life and allowed him to perfect this wretched man. But, I kept my running shoes on and was determined to do my own thing or tweak his will to conform to mine.
What was I thinking? When he told me not get into that relationship, I proceeded and had to get my heart broken in order to prevent myself from making the mistake of marrying someone outside the will of God. When he told me not to move to D.C., I went looking for an alternative route to get me out of Florida that led me to make dumb and costly decisions. When he placed me in a job where I wasn’t happy or comfortable, I tried so hard to move His hand so I could get a better job. You see, even in my running, it was evident that, “He knows the way that I take and when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Most of us know the bible story of Jonah, who was called to go to the city of Nineveh and preach the gospel but he fled from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. (How do you run away from the God who knows and sees everything?) Jonah later found a ship that was set to sail and got on board, hoping to flee from the Lord. However, the Lord sent a great wind in the sea and the violent storm frightened the sailors on the ship and each cried out to his own god. They threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the load on the ship.
But, Jonah had went below deck and fell asleep. The captain went and questioned Jonah as to how he was able to sleep during the storm. The sailors were curious as to why the storm had impacted them so they turned their attention to Jonah. They knew he was running from the Lord and was the cause of this storm so eventually they threw Jonah overboard and the raging sea grew calm. Then, a huge fish swallowed Jonah and he was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights. While in the belly of the fish, he cried out to the Lord who later commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah onto dry land. The Lord being so merciful gave Jonah a second chance to go to the city of Nineveh and deliver the message he had given him.
Yes, He is merciful but disobedience has a cost. When we run away from the plans of God, we should be ready to pay the cost. We often think that those who are running away from God are living in sin but sometimes it’s just simple disobedience. They run away from the things that God has called them to do.
On the other hand, some of us are running from the pain of our past, words that have hurt us, relationships/marriages, dreams that have yet to be fulfilled, or degrees/careers that the economy have left us fearful of obtaining. Or maybe you ran away from God because your marriage didn’t work out, you lost your job or a loved one, the economy is too bad and God is not moving on your behalf, or you made a bad decision and don’t know how to recover from it. I have learned that the Lord is married to the backslider and after you messed up, he is willing to take you back without pointing out your flaws. However, as we continue to run away, we are delaying the process and promises of God from being fulfilled in our lives. Running away is usually a result of fear of the unknown or what you already know will come to past.
Ultimately, the Lord has your best interest at heart. His plans are bigger than our desires. "For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future" (Jeremiah 29: 11). Take off your running shoes and allow God to direct your path.