Running on Empty

Have you ever wished you could just run away? I have. Sometimes I want to run away from something. Sometimes I feel the need to get away to something different. Sometimes I want to run ahead, because surely there’s supposed to be more to life than what I see today. Even as an adult I’ve had longings for younger days with less real world pressure and responsibility. Of course, when I was younger I didn’t see it that way.

What if we could go back and do things differently then based on what we know now? If only.

Life is hard. Responsibilities are heavy. Work. School. Kids. Bills. Health issues. Family issues. Trying to keep up with basics of groceries, laundry and house chores on top of everything else. Where’s the joy and laughter in any of that? We’ve poured out all we have into other people and other things. And there’s nothing left.

We’re running on empty. The fumes of hope are dissipating.

This isn’t what we signed up for. This isn’t what we expected. And now we want to be released. We want a break. We try to escape. Our head is barely above water and the waves of life keep crashing down.

We need help. Where is God?

Is He sitting on His throne beyond the galaxies, so far removed from our reality that He can’t see it? Has He forgotten us? Are we too messed up to ever find new life?

The answer to all of these is: No.

We may not see God, but He sees us. We may not hear God, but He hears us. We may not seek or pursue God, but He seeks and pursues us. We may not know God, but He knows us.

He knows everything about us. Where we’ve been. What we’ve done. Where we are now. What choices we’re going to make. He knows how our story started, how our story ends, and everything in between. He knows every intimate detail about us–including things that we don’t even understand about ourselves. And He loves us anyway.

He loves us because of who we are. Not despite it.

God created us with purpose in mind. He designed us with our specific appearance. The things that we think are flaws, He sees as unique marks that make us special. He placed certain preferences and desires in our heart. He gave us challenges in life when we could have turned to Him and been strengthened and saved. But many of us, including me, turned away from Him instead. Sometimes intentionally. And sometimes because we didn’t know any other way.

Still, God has never given up on us. And He never will.

God isn’t expecting us to be perfect. After all, He’s the one who made us human. What God does want is for us to ask Him to be a part of our life. To turn to Him. To accept Him as the only one who can truly fill our emptiness. To get to know Him intimately. To trust Him and believe that He will save us. To love Him the way that He first loved us.

God continually calls us. He gives us opportunities to stand with and for Him. He’s ready to pour into us with strength and hope. He sent His Son to show us the way home. And He wants us to know that Jesus didn’t come to burden us with religion and rules. He came to set us free.

The choice is ours. Jesus says, “Come to Me.” There’s no elaborate ritual that has to happen. All we have to do is to let go of whatever keeps us from running to Him.

Lay down your burdens. Lay down your fears. Run to Jesus. And find rest as He fills your tank to overflowing.

“‘Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me–watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.’” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

May I pray?

Dear Jesus, many of us feel tired and overwhelmed. We try to escape in this or that, but ultimately nothing fills the emptiness. Nothing changes where we are. Lord, please take our burdens from us. I boldly pray, whatever keeps us from You, please take it away. By force if necessary. Bring us to our knees so that we’ll surrender all and reach out for You with open arms. And may we rise again in Your strength and purpose. Amen.

Q4U: What keeps you from running to Jesus today?

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