I’m a runner…
I am a runner, not the kind that ties on overpriced Nike’s and hits the pavement, but the kind of runner that when the going gets tough, well I get going, “right on out the door,” out of the relationship, out of the pain, out of the hard. The enemy knows this about me, he not only knows it, he relishes in it. The enemy knows if he can place doubt, conflict, and pain in my heart I will run. I am not a fighter and the enemy uses it to separate me from the goodness, the joy, and the life giving assurance of God’s grace.
Sometimes I feel the whispers that I am too broken to stop running, sometimes I don’t feel grace surrounding me. Sometimes I wonder why I don’t ALWAYS feel the joy of Christ within me.
I see the women at church with their hands held high in praise during worship, the women who look as if the love of Jesus is literally lighting their faces. I think why can’t I do that, why can’t I hold my hands high? Why do I just gently sway back and forth with quiet sound? Why don’t I have their joy? The enemy whispers to my heart, “Because you are too broken.” I ache to be the woman with her hands held high and her voice shouting in praise but instead I “run” — I quietly worship in the back where there are no eyes around to see me. I sit back wondering will I ever have the obvious light these women have? The enemy tells me I won’t, I will always be too broken and I should run.
The enemy has the distinctive way of knowing exactly how I feel less than and whispering to my heart how my failures are bigger than God’s grace.
Lies I sometimes believe. I never doubt God’s existence but I have doubted His grace for me. There have been times I doubted His grace so ardently that I stopped going to church, I stopped praying. The enemy made me think “Who am I to call upon God, when I have failed Him?”
Thirteen years as a Christian and I am still running, still finding myself feeling less than. When these emotions try to overtake me and the enemy whispers to me, “You will never be enough for God,” I remember the cross and the criminal there with Jesus. The criminal did little before the cross to be in “good graces” with God. I imagine he spent his life in brokenness, lying, cheating, and stealing. He hung there in conviction, with no chance for redemption.
The criminal hung on the cross a sinner—asking Jesus in his last hours to remember him.
The criminal hung there in belief that redemption was hanging next to him.
Jesus said to him, “Today you will be with me in paradise.” This statement is so small but holds so much weight. The thief had no chance at goodwill or actions of redemption. His life ended when he was placed on the cross. The criminal had no ability to offer an apology to those he had lied, he had no chance to return the things he stole, he had zero opportunity to rectify his wrongs, earthly redemption was not offered to him, but heavenly redemption was. Earthly redemption didn’t matter—grace is not earned.
You cannot run away from it nor can you run to it.
Redeeming grace is free and always with you.
Jesus shows us just how free it is when he tells the criminal on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise.”
I want to stop running and remember God’s grace is enough to redeem everything.