After several lessons about a wonderful book, Pancakes for Supper, the first grade teachers and I decided to have a culminating event by making pancakes with the first grade classes. This required strategic planning of materials, staff and more importantly the group of children that each of us would be supervising. Let's just say that some of our first grade students do not have much impulse control! After setting up the tables with pancake mix, water, measuring cups, wooden spoons, spatulas and electric griddles we were ready to discuss the activity with the students.
With as stern of a voice that I could muster I repeated this phrase several times. "Do not touch the griddle, it is hot and you will get burned." Convinced that we were ready to begin the pancakes making began.
We stirred the batter and talked about the hot griddle several more times. Before I could even pour the batter on to the griddle one of my most impulsive students reached out and touched the griddle with his finger. When I asked him why he would do that he said that he just wanted to see if it really was hot! For the remainder of the class he had his one blistered finger in a glass of cold water. When he had to take his finger out of the water, because it was time to go home he began to cry, "It hurts, I don't want to take it out!"
This little boy reminded me of how we run from pain. After we have done what we know is not good for us or what God has told us not to do we experience pain. We will try anything to avoid the pain of our consequences. The problem with running is that we can never out run God!
My good friend Wayne Anderson used to say, "The hound of heaven will catch up to you!"
Today I went for a bike ride. Usually this time of year I begin my exercise routine of longer and longer rides. The first ones are excruciating because my body is not in shape. It's not too difficult to talk me out of riding at first because I know that it can be painful. Sometimes I run from the pain of training.
The disciples knee-deep in the midst of spiritual training with Jesus had many times when they probably wanted to run from the pain of learning the same lessons over and over again. They were with Jesus in the town of Bethsaida along with the crowd of people on the mountainside. Imagine the pain that they felt when Jesus turned to them and said, "You give them something to eat!" (Luke 9:13) or when they had to collect all of the leftover baskets of food!
Some people are like the Samaritan woman who ran from the pain of being alone. As Jesus unfolds her story in John 4 we learn that she has been running from one relationship to another.
Perhaps it's just human nature to run from consequences! I think that this may have been the reason behind this verse.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. I John 1:9
Jesus knows how and why we run from the consequences and calls us to just fess up so He can clean us up!
Just like the father who ran to meet His prodigal son, God runs to embrace you as you come close to Him. He will stand with you in the midst of whatever consequences that you have to endure whispering, " I am with you always".
Isn't it time to stop running?