It’s 9:20am and you are home. Imagine that you are scheduled to meet a friend at the local shopping mall at 9:30am. What is the big deal you say? If you have lived in Malawi long enough and have had a taste of the Malawian experience you will know that it is absolutely berserk (beyond all reasonable doubt) to catch a mini-bus ten minutes’ prior your pre-planned rendezvous (it is wishful thinking to think that you will show up on time!). This was me a couple of weeks ago. Embarrassed and mortified by my pseudo-proficient time skills, I gritted my teeth waiting to see the rectangular chunk of metal wheel itself from the horizon as the staunch vocals of the conductor solicit for my K150 ($0.21). I thought about what I did that morning and why it was 09:35am and how I was still standing at the bus stage in the scorching heat of the sun (on the flip side, however, it gave me a chance to rehearse my “I’m sorry for being late” speech). The bus came.
10:00am. I had one more connection to go. Still mortified, I stomached the defeat and waited for the mini-bus driver to rev the engine (I had managed to squeeze myself in). He weaved through the clutter of vehicles and took the usual route. Everything was moving like clockwork. He accelerated up the slope and that is when it happened. It was not the Morse code nor was it the convolution of words and mystical dialects. It was a simple hand wave from his fellow counter-part bus driver cautioning him of the menace that lodged itself a few meters ahead: the traffic police. Breaking a million and one road rules, he u-turned on the main road and raced away. In just about three seconds Mr. mini-bus driver had formulated his own route. Perfect. Not only had I outlandishly battered the constructs of being fashionably late but had now involuntarily enrolled myself in a game of cat and mouse (and we all know who the mouse was). Not sure whether to laugh or give a “subliminal” glare he cunningly maneuvered through the streets dashing from “harms” way. It was clear from the get-go that Mr. mini-bus driver was playing Moses creating routes were routes had not existed before. He seemed to be hiding something. I pondered why and thoughtfully listed a multiplicity of scenarios in my mind (license? Insurance?).
A good ten minutes passed. We steered through the streets as he fabricated ways of escape. Amid the scene he welled up an idea. He maneuvered the bus through the stream of traffic and took a turn for the motor highway on the other side of town far from “evils” way. A radiant beam swept across his face. Mouse had won and cat had been vanquished! I must say, I was rather amused (and annoyed) by his well-coordinated tactics. Fine-free and bus loaded, he cruised through the highway feeling like a mastermind. And that is when it happened again. It was not the wave of a counter-part or a long forgotten pal. It was the traffic police. His sunshine face morphed itself into that of a ghost which was ready to throw up. I laughed inside with a haughty smirk longing to come out. His grandiose cunning skit smashed into pieces. Who did he think that he was that he could run away from justice? Did he really think that another route could save him from being caught? I peered my eyes at him with a sarcastic “what are you going to do now” echoing loudly in my mind. I anticipated the explosion that was seconds away from blowing. It was then, amid my musings, that I saw bits of myself that had shelved themselves in the dusty archives. I was not too different from him. It was easy to judge the frontage of his sly personality. Yet I have re-played his very actions towards God over and over again.
“I saw bits of myself that had shelved themselves in the dusty archives. I was not too different from him.”
I think back upon the copious amounts of times that I have run away from His piercing truth only to be back-stabbed by my own deceit. I think of the times that the Lord has sounded His warning bells towards me. I think about the times He has asked me to take Him to the rooms of my heart that I have kept sealed. God beams His radiant light into the dark corners of our lives were chaos and clutter comfortably lay stack painting an “immovable” façade. It is then that we run from Him and hide. Adam did it, Mr. mini bus driver did it (figuratively speaking) and so too do we. It is a tragedy to think that we can outrun God. Yet in our running we find Him at the finish line of our lives waiting. Where can we go where He has not been? Where can we hide that He does not see? The truth is that He sees it all. He knows our light and our darkness. He knows our weaknesses and our sins. Our skeletons may be a secret to others (and perhaps to ourselves) but He knows them all too well. And even then, when we do run, we find Him walking beside our track saying:
“Come now, and let us reason together…though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool. If you consent and obey, you will eat the best of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” Isaiah 1:18 (New American Standard Bible)
The Lords confrontations are a gracious invitation to know Him more intimately. For in the revelation of our darkness breaks forth a greater revelation that diminishes all other thought and reason: The Light of Gods Son, Jesus Christ. Our dire depravity is collided with a tsunami of grace through the Light of the good news of Christ. It is good news for we no longer have to remain entrapped by the darkness of our souls. Darkness is reduced to nothing in the forgiving power and unrelenting love of God. The heart that runs away will soon learn that God cannot be mocked. Yet the heart that stops running, broken as it may be, will never be despised by the all gracious God. He will take the clutter and the garbage and “perfect all that concerns you (Psalms 138:8).”
What have you been running away from? Has God been brining something to your attention and yet it seems so scary to face? Perhaps it is time we stop running away from Him and start running towards Him. He is good.
At His Feet…