I remember this one time in college I knew the Lord was asking me to do something that I just didn’t want to do. I’d tried to avoid doing It for years actually, but this particular time when the Lord asked, I felt like I was pushed into a corner. I felt vulnerable and trapped, like I was swimming in waters too deep and the waves were choking me and I couldn’t stay afloat.
One afternoon while I was
praying arguing with God, I just got so frustrated with him that I walked away from the conversation, changed into my running shoes, and left. I had decided, quite literally, to run away from God.
It was early evening in early springtime in Austin – the perfect time and place for a run. I lived in a neighborhood just North of campus. It had a few high-traffic roads and lots of neighborhood streets with cute little North Campus houses.
I don’t remember the route I ran that night, only that I just started and didn’t stop for a long time. I know I took a left at the intersection and ran past the Hindu temple. I probably zig-zagged through the little neighborhoods towards campus. Eventually I curved back around and ran parallel with the #7 bus route.
My steps were hard and combative. I figured the harder I stomped, the more I could prove to God that I was pissed. I ran furiously fast, too fast for my fitness level at the time, but my only goal was to outrun God, to outrun his nagging.
I imagine he was irritated but amused by this effort of mine.
He probably ran right behind me, just far enough behind that he wouldn’t get kicked, but close enough so that he’d hear my thoughts.
It got dark and I made my way back home. Our house was on the high-traffic street, just in front of the #7 bus stop. We shared a driveway with our duplex neighbors, but their cars weren’t parked there that night. I jogged up to the place where the sidewalk met the driveway, and I collapsed on the ground. My spirit was far more exhausted than my body. My heart hurt in that way when you have to cry so much it hurts and then you’re confused about what hurts more – the thought of crying or the pain itself.
I don’t think I cried. I think I just sat there, heart beating and mind swirling with thoughts, staring at the city sky, listening to cars drive past, pressing my palms flat against the cool concrete. I felt stupid. I knew all along that I couldn’t out run God, I just wanted to at least prove to him that I wasn’t afraid to do it. I guess I just wanted to try so that I’d know in the future that it couldn’t be done.
I’m not sure how long I sat there, maybe 30 or 40 minutes. I was lost in thought when suddenly I saw a figure approaching me. I was startled for a moment until I recognized the body and then the familiar face of a dear friend. “What on Earth are you doing?” he said as he walked up to the driveway. “Running from God,” I said.
He paused and looked at me in this mysterious way, almost like he already knew that’s what I would say, then he said, simply, “You shouldn’t do that.” And then he walked past me into my house.