Recently our three-year-old son takes off running with no warning. I like watching him enjoy the freedom to explore his world. So usually I let him run as long and as far as he wants—within limits. But sometimes I go after him. Sometimes angrily. Sometimes laughing as I follow him.
The other day at church we took him to his Sunday morning class. We walked into the room. He looked around, then he bolted out the door, out the building and across the front lawn of the church with me in a fast walk behind him.
Our son didn’t look back to see if I was following him. He just ran. I have no idea what he had on his mind. Probably didn’t want to be in the classroom that day. Maybe he just wanted to see how fast he could run, or see what was around the corner.
I followed my son until he ran himself into a dead end. He stopped running when he saw he had nowhere else to go. On this day, I didn’t scold him or punish him. I just picked him up into my arms as he excitedly told me all about what he saw during his “run”.
I did tell him that I didn’t want him to run away from me. Of course as his father, I want him to stay safe from danger. Yet at the same time I want him to feel the wind in his hair and learn where his boundaries lie.
As we walked back to his room, I thought about all the times I run from my Heavenly Father. Sometimes I run out of fear. Other times out of a rebellious heart. Still other times just to explore on my own.
It saddens me how easily I can ignore or forget the love my Heavenly Father has for me. That is when I bolt, just as my son did from me.
But how grateful I am that He always welcomes me back or when He deems necessary comes after me.
Yes, sometimes I am disciplined. Other times He consoles me.
I think of the old hymn, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.
How many times have I prayed this for myself. I now also pray that my son will be fettered to me, his earthly father. I want my son to always know that he can stop running. In fact, he doesn’t have to ever run in the first place. His place with me is one of safety, comfort, love.
I hope that my relationship with my son will reflect the love his Heavenly Father has for him. I pray that his Heavenly Father will take his heart and seal it. Seal it for His courts above.
Nothing will make my heart more joyful.
Are you a runner like me? Do you know you can stop and return to God? He has not lost sight of you and even pursues you. Will you let Him draw you back into relationship with Him today?