"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
January 21, 2015
Running away from home is something that most kids consider or attempt at one time or another when they're young. I was too spoilt and babied to want to leave home, so I really can't remember wanting to run away. And we lived down a dirt road in the country, which means it would have been a long walk to get anywhere where there weren't a bunch of relatives living close by who would have seen me and taken me back home.
Jon was too money conscious to run away from home. He said that he considered it one time, but thought it out beforehand and decided that he didn't have enough money. He wouldn't want to live on the street and didn't have enough money to stay in a motel. He would want to eat and eating in a restaurant would be expensive. So when he figured out the math of how much it would cost to rent a motel room and eat out, he decided that he couldn't afford to run away.
Jon's sister, Gayla, ran away when she was about 5-6 years old, but came back home before her parents even realized she was gone. They were working in their garage and after a while it dawned on them that they hadn't seen her for a while. About that time she came in and dramatically threw the back of her hand onto her forehead and declared, "I was a fool!" What?!? She had decided to run away, but when she rounded the corner that was up the street from their house and turned around and could no longer see home, she turned around and ran back.
Jon's brother, Ken, climbed a tree in front of their house to hide until someone missed him; but no one did. His mom thought he was across the street playing with his friend. At suppertime she yelled out the front door for him to come home. He was tired of sitting up in the tree by that time, so climbed down. At least that is the way his mom remembers the incident.
A while back, my nephew, Jax, decided that he was going to run away and go live somewhere where everyone would be nice to him all the time. He walked to the end of the street and turned the corner. When his parents got him back home, he got into trouble for running away. The next day, his mom (my niece) told me about it in front of him. I told him that running away was dangerous; you couldn't just walk up to a strange house and ask if they would be nice to you if you lived there. Plus a stranger could see him walking and stop their car and make him get in the car with them and I'd never see him again and would cry every day for the rest of my life. I told him that he was to never, ever, ever run away again; and if he did, I would spank his bottom so hard that he wouldn't be able to sit down for a week. He promised me that he never would. What's funny, is that when he got back home after deciding to run away, his mom and dad punished him by making him go to bed. He was using the bathroom before going to bed and was crying and feeling sorry for himself that everyone was mean to him. Outside the door, his sisters were both singing, "Oh happy day... happy day... He washed my sins away. Oh happy day... happy day...." I'm sure that in his misery, hearing his two sisters singing, "Oh happy day" made him want to punch them right about then!
Sometimes kids feel like if they ran away from home, then their parents will realize how much they love them and will be nicer to them. I doubt that many kids truly intend to leave forever, they just feel unloved and unappreciated at that moment; or feel like they have too many rules. Perhaps they got into trouble for misbehaving and felt like they were treated unjustly, or they weren't given permission to do something they really wanted to do. For a short moment in time, they feel like running away from home would be a good idea. I suppose I should say, most don't want to leave forever -- but some apparently do.
Even as adults, we can have those moments when we feel unappreciated or overwhelmed and wish we could run away from home. We don't want to leave forever, but would like a vacation or a day away or even a couple hours.
Spiritually, there are times when we may feel like running away. We don't want to sever our relationship with God, but we get our feelings hurt or feel like He's not treating us as lovingly as He should or become discouraged. Sometimes it may feel like pleasing God is too hard and we just can't get it right. Other times we may feel like we could do better on our own; at least for a short while. Perhaps if we "run away", then God will answer our prayer like we want or bless our socks off or do something incredibly special for us.
The truth is, no matter if we do try and run away spiritually, we can never escape from God's view. He is all seeing and all knowing and never takes His eyes off us. He just loves us that much.
Psalm 139 describes this very well:
"O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I'm far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night -- but even in the darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous -- how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me!" (verses 1-18 NLT)
Just as a father loves his child and will go after them if they run away, God will pursue us and follow after us if we choose to run away. When a parent knows that their little son or daughter has gotten their feelings hurt or are upset and think they would be better off if they ran away, they will follow the child to see what they do and how far they'll go; and will keep them in view to make sure their little boy or girl is safe and no one bothers them or harms them.
Our Heavenly Father will also follow us and keep His eyes on us to protect and keep us safe. He doesn't want the enemy to bring harm to us. But sometimes when we're stubborn and determined to go our own way, He won't force us back to our spiritual home. He will love us and pursue us and never let us out of His sight, but when we keep running and refuse to heed His warnings sometimes we may have to deal with the consequences of our misbehaver. That doesn't mean that God has stopped loving us, but He wants us to come back to Him by our own choice.
When you feel discouraged or like a spiritual failure or like living for God is just too hard, read Psalm 139 again and be encouraged. God has had His hand on us since our very conception in our mother's womb, and He has not removed it to this day. Every day of our life has been recorded by Him. His thoughts towards us are more precious than we could ever imagine or comprehend. We are a special treasure to God. That's a pretty awesome thought!!
We know someone who ran away from her parents as an adult. She was adopted, and wanted to meet her birth mother. She had dreamed up some perfect mother, and when she met her birth mother, she believed she was the perfect mother she had dreamt of, and trusted everything she said. So she left the mother and father who raised her and loved her to follow a fantasy. They are anxious for her to return, and will welcome her with open arms. She has already let them know that she made a mistake, and misses them. They have been in contact with her and are hoping to renew their relationship.
It's a lot the same with our relationship with our Heavenly Father. He has invited us into His family as adopted children, but we tend to follow after some fantasy that Satan offers. God is eager to welcome us home. Just as with the daughter I mentioned, it's great to say you plan to go home, but we need to make a commitment to Him, and follow through on it.
Quick and Easy (but very tasty) Chicken Tortilla Soup
(The amounts on this is approximate -- you can make as little as much as you want.)
2 quarts chicken broth
2 cans chicken -- drained
or a rotisserie chicken deboned
onion sauteed in butter until softened
1 can Rotel
8 ounces Velveeta
1/4 cup milk
1 can corn, drained (or 1 cup frozen)
Put chicken broth in a large pan; add chicken and turn heat on medium. You can either use a couple cans of canned chicken (drained) or use a rotisserie chicken (debone). In a small skillet, saute onion (whatever amount desired) in a couple tablespoons of butter until softened. Onion can be omitted, if you want. Add onion and can of Rotel to the chicken broth mixture. Add corn; can be canned corn (drained) or frozen corn. Heat until hot. Add Velveeta and stir until melted. Turn heat off and add milk; stir. Add crumbled tortilla chips to top of each soup bowl. Can also add sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese on top of each bowl, if you would like. Soup reheats well.
Don't let other people's compliments go to your head, nor their criticisms to your heart. - Luke Lang
We love you!
Loretta & Jon