Marathons and running have become a sport. With what was once a common human activity is now a measure of excellence to some or a past time to others. Still to most, it has become a way of life or a means of living.
Each Sunday there are races here in the Philippines. Every weekdays people jog or join run clinics to meet coaches and learn the basic techniques of running. It has become as intricate and as complicated as basketball or football. There is a variety of shoes to choose from, gadgets to measure distance, or speed and many other odds and ends related to running.
Running has become a sport.
Though I have yet to try this sport, at times, I feel the impulse to run. Yet instead of running towards the finish line, I wanted to run away. Run away from the rigors of work, family, church, friends and many others. I longed to run away from all responsibilities. I guess it would be a nice feeling to take to the road and go to a far flung place where no one knows you or even cares about you – all to escape the realities of life.
Ever got that feeling of running away?
I found out though that running away is impossible. You can never run from your responsibilities, your commitments or your ties. The reason is simply because there’s no place to run to. You cannot escape especially if you’re running away from God. Even if you reach the remotest village on this planet, there’s no running away from the responsibilities God has set for us. Responsibilities and commitments seem to find us wherever we go.
Though impossible, it doesn’t mean you cannot try. Actually a lot of people have tried. All of them failed. One of the most notable ones had one of the most life changing experiences ever.
His name was Jonah. He was a Hebrew prophet of God. He got wind of a message from his Boss that he was to go out to a land called Nineveh to tell them how sinful their city has become. I don’t know why Jonah did it, but instead of going to Nineveh, he booked a ship going to Tarshish, which is in the opposite direction, reserved the cabin at the very bottom of the ship and slept there. He never even tried to mingle with the people on board. He stayed put. No ties, no responsibilities, no commitments. He was sound asleep until he was awakened by the other men on the ship. To his surprise he found out that they are in the middle of a storm. The ship was about to capsize and everyone was praying for dear life. Everyone was clueless, but he knew why it was happening.
And he said to them, “Pick me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will become calm for you. For I know that this great tempest is because of me.”
He offered himself to be thrown at sea. He thought that he could run away, but he learned it the hard way that he cannot. He even put the lives of other people in peril. Yet that wasn’t the end of the story. God sent a giant fish to gobble him up. He stayed in the fish belly for three days and three nights. There he had time to contemplate (what else would you do inside the belly of a fish?).
But I will sacrifice to You
With the voice of thanksgiving;
I will pay what I have vowed.
Salvation is of the LORD.”
– Jonah 2:9
After crying out to God, the Lord took pity and sent him back to dry land to do his mission. Imagine the agony he has to go through just to escape from God.
Escaping from God is not possible. Even through death, we cannot escape because He has the keys to life and death itself. Yet we must remember that whenever we tried to bolt out of our responsibilities and commitments for Him, we can be sure that He is willing to take us back. He would even give us enough time to think about what we have done. Just don’t try to get eaten by a fish while you’re at it.