The other day, my heart broke. As we were leaving violin class, a little boy, about 4, came sobbing, screaming, running down the stairs, flying past us. I waited a second before I moved so I could get out of the way of the adult that would obviously come chasing him. That didn’t happen but another adult that I knew came through the door at the top of the stairs with questions in her eye. I knew I needed to follow him. So I did, my heart breaking.
I flew down the stairs after him, fearful of what he was running from, but knowing he needed someone to help him. As I got to the hallway at the bottom of the stairs and turned to follow him, a woman stepped out of a classroom with terror on her face. Her little boy was screaming and running. She stepped out to meet him and console him and let him know he was okay.
I don’t need to tell you just how thankful I am that he found his mother, that he wasn’t running from any physical thing that was threatening him. It has brought two thoughts to mind though.
1 – For that sweet mama – He is safe and you are okay. That choice to leave him turned out okay in the end so don’t berate yourself any more. I could see you shielding your face as you climbed the stairs with your boys. I could see you avoiding eye contact and trying to not have to face anyone. I wish I could have reached out to you, to calm your fears of what others were thinking. We are all so very grateful that he was fine and he knew where to find you. No one is judging you. No one thinks you are a bad mom. And I wish I had had a way to reach out to you. I could see the pain on your face as you held his hand and walked with him to your car. I could see the love written there, too, and the relief. You are a good mama and your children, they are special gifts. We are thankful that you love them and they are with you tonight.
2 – Do I run to my parent the same way that little boy did? He knew where his safe place was, even when he was no longer in sight of that safe place. His mama may have been out of his sight but he KNEW. And when he got frightened, scared, and worried, he took off just as fast as his little legs could carry him, running to the one who would make everything right.
Do I run to God like that when I make a mistake? When I am frightened or scared? When I can no longer see “my safe place?” Do you?
God tells us in Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
He tells us to come to Him. To give Him our burdens, our weariness. When we do this, he gives us rest. This is the only rest that really matters. It is not rest that can be gained overnight in a comfy bed. This is the relief of the bone-deep weariness and burdens that plague life on earth. God asks us to come to him, come running, sobbing, frightened, scared. Come however you are. He will give you rest.
He also tells us about the son who has turned from the father’s way and was lost to him. In Luke 15:11-32, we find the story that many of us call the “Prodigal Son.” This son left the ways of the father, took all his “birthright” money, and turned his back on his dad, his family. But after hardship and trial came his way, this young man realized just how much love can carry you through and what he had actually abandoned. He ran home, throwing himself down at his father’s feet, and asking forgiveness.
He ran to the one who he KNEW, without a doubt, would reclaim him, would care for him and not throw him out again. But even better was the whole-hearted acceptance he received. His father did not just receive him; he embraced his son. His father cared for him better than the son ever imagined he would.
The son knew where his safe place was and he ran to it.
I need to run back to God, to find my safe place within his arms. And I know he will accept me, again. He tells us that. (Acts 2:38, Acts 13:38)
I am blessed to have a God who loves me so much that he provided a way for me to come back to him.