I had a “vision” this morning. I use that word loosely. In reality, it was more like me imagining myself being in an action movie scene, complete with a dramatic orchestral soundtrack. 1
I was walking down a nice trail with a friend. We were talking and enjoying hanging out. The views were nice. It wasn’t a piece of cake walk, but not really strenuous either — comfortably difficult. Most importantly, it headed toward a place I wanted to go.
I never noticed what was to the right, but to the left was a dense forest through rugged terrain. Suddenly my friend grabbed my arm and took off on a sprint through the woods. Climbing rocks and hills, jumping over boulders, ducking under branches. Getting caught and scraped and cut by the brush and branches and falls. It was hard. It was exhilarating and exciting, but it was painful. I didn’t know where we were going, but my friend had my arm, smiling, encouraging me, pulling me along.
I found myself (the real me — not the one I saw with sweat dripping over a gash on my cheek while jumping in super slow motion from the top of a boulder over a river with a surprisingly dangerous current) thinking, “I want to get back to that trail.” But in the instant that I had that thought, I was convicted. God said, “I didn’t call you to walk down that trail. I called you to run through this wilderness with me.”
Ouch. “Comfortably difficult” is not in His plans.
If you’ve been around Christianity for a while, you might have heard the phrase “running after God” or “chasing after God”. Until this morning, I just pictured that to mean that I should be doing what I can to get to know God more and more and trying to align myself to Him. That I should be more devoted.
Of course I should. That’s a no-brainer. I desire to know Him more each day than the day before. But that’s something different. I now have a new definition of what it means to run after God.
It’s not that I’m over here and He’s over there and I need to get over there to Him. It’s not that He’s running away from me and I need to try to catch Him. We’re not playing tag, and we’re absolutely not playing hide and seek.
I’m running after God when I take His hand and allow Him to pull me through the wilderness, over rocks and hills, turning sharply, ducking branches, splashing through rivers, crashing through brush, getting bumps, cuts and bruises, all at a speed that feels reckless and out of control.
Running after God has nothing to do with what I do to pull myself closer to Him. Running after God has everything to do with trusting that He has my hand, that He knows every inch of the wilderness, and he knows that the view on the other side of the wilderness is so much more spectacular than what I wanted to see at the end of the trail.
“Running after God” is “running with God”. He’s not far away. He’s not the destination. He’s the guide that I am trusting.
Maybe you’ve already had this revelation. Maybe I was absent the day they covered this in “Christian Colloquialisms 101” 2 and everyone else already gets this. But the light just came on for me.
Those the LORD blesses will possess the land,
but those he curses will die.
The LORD directs the steps of the godly.
He delights in every detail of their lives.
Though they stumble, they will never fall,
for the LORD holds them by the hand.