I ease my truck down the dirt road and pull to a stop in the shade. After a busy morning of studying at the library, followed by running errands, I’m exhausted. I plant one, two feet on the overly-dry burnt grass as dust billows up to greet me, reminding me that summer in east Texas is in full swing. I gently close the truck door, hoping my kids won’t notice I’ve parked just yet. I’m not mentally prepared to be bombarded, and I have a few surprises in the truck that I’m not ready to show off.
As I walk around to the passenger side door, sunshine-heat slightly overwhelms me and I wipe my brow, eager to get inside. Opening the truck’s door, I peer through the driver’s side window and notice the front door of my house open. One, Two, Three dogs charge outside with gusto. I know what comes next. Which child will it be? Rather than one of my older girls, my underwear-only clad little boy makes his way down the steps in my boots, shouting “Mama, Mama!” Shaking my head at his appearance I pick up the pace and try to gather all of my belongings out of the passenger seat before I’m crowded with the remaining three members of my entourage. Before I can sling my backpack over my shoulder, I hear another frantic cry of “Mama!” only this time, it’s coming from my 7 year old daughter. I shout, “Stay on the steps, I’m coming!” Without even the slightest hint that she’s even considered paying heed to my suggestion, she starts edging her way over to me. Again, I urge her to just be patient and wait. Alas, she is determined to get to me. She comes around the car with shouts of joy at our reunion. I look at her as she rounds the back of the truck and I notice she didn’t even stop to put shoes over her sock-covered feet. I point this little fact out to her, and in response, with a grin filled with the sunshine of a 7-year old life, she runs to me. I open my arms wide, and scoop her up in my arms. What joy! God’s grace is overflowing in this moment.
As I place my little one back on the ground and gather up my possessions, I greet my other two children who have made their way to greet me and we all go inside. On the trek inside, my mind starts to wander as I connect the dots to something deeper that has just happened.
Many of us know the story of parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15). In case you don’t know the story, to make it short, after disrespecting and spending his father’s inheritance, a young man returns home expecting to be scorned, but instead his father runs to embrace him and lovingly brings his son back into the family with celebrating.
It’s a beautiful parable that shows how our Heavenly Father so lovingly welcomes us home no matter how much we have messed up. My favorite image from that story, is of the father running towards his son.
What I experienced today was the opposite. Rather than parent running to child, my child ran to me.
What would our lives be like if we ran toward our heavenly father? Our whole lives through, God carefully and lovingly pursues us, seeking relationship. What might change if we were to run to Him?
What if we spent our days running toward Christ, rather than slow walking toward him, dragging our feet as though it were a begrudged chore? How would your faith change if you excitedly ran towards Christ with hope, expectation, and joy?
About two years ago, I stopped expecting God to chase me (although, I believe He never would have stopped lovingly pursuing me) and started to come towards Him. I put aside my flimsy, conviction less, movie-version of Christianity and worked my way towards an authentic life-giving relationship with Jesus. I started listening to Him, instead of me. I admitted how desperately I needed Jesus, rather than settling in a vanilla flavored pseudo-Christian lifestyle.
Over the last two years, I’ve picked up the pace. Jesus changes me every day. I wake up and sprint towards Him. Now, I live. No matter how broke, heartbroken, lonely, happy, rich, desperate, hopeful, good or bad I feel. Every moment of my life is now a grace-filled moment, spent running into my Father’s arms.
Have you ever had a moment where you stopped where you were and started actively pursuing a deeper walk with God? I’d love to hear your story!