Like a warrior, she drew out her sword feeling as if she always had to fight. Rawer as she had ever been, she left. She ran far, far away. Leaving everything that she had behind.
Little did she know, freedom wasn’t found in running away, but in running home.
This is me, and maybe this is you, too.
Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. Then the Lord God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”
But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?”
“It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”
But the Lord said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight."
Let me tell you about when God sent a worm to chew my plant away. A time when I chose to run.
For those who are unaware, a year and a half ago, to spare the messy details, I went through a breakup that left wounds. BIG wounds. A breakup that left my heart shattered in pieces. After several years of being together, the last thing I ever thought would happen, happened. It was unhealthy, very unhealthy. He was my security blanket, the place in which I found my identity. I felt like a lion whose mane had been stripped away. I felt like the biggest part of me had been taken away. Although God was beyond patient with my wandering heart, I now realize that I can't give my heart away like I did. My heart is His, and His only. I yelled at the Lord, I told Him that I didn’t want anything to do with Him, I questioned Him. It was the Lord; it was He who was fighting for my heart. In my anger, I ran.
But even then, God knew. He knew that my heart needed time to heal. Even then, He knew that no matter how far I had run, I would come running back. God chose to let me run. How profound is that? The creator of the universe, the one who craves my heart more than anything else, let me run away. Only then could I truly value His consistency and grace.
The refining process kills, a lot. It hurts like no other. He will put you through the fire, my friend, because His love is much deeper than to let us fall short of what He created us to be. Fire scorches, fire melts, fire refines. Although many plants require water to grow, some evergreen trees (such as the Lodgepole Pine tree) need to be stimulated by fire for growth initiation. Gently held and refined, evergreens encompass the nature of patience. Year after year, surviving the seasons of frigid winters and scorching fires. Oh, how you can as well. You are resilient.
For you have tried us, O God; you have refined us as silver is refined. You brought us into the net; you laid an oppressive burden upon us. You made men ride over our heads. We went through fire and through water, yet you brought us into a place of abundance.
Please listen to He who loves you more than you can even fathom. You do not need to run away any longer. Throw away your armor that has hurt you so many times in the past and run back into the arms of grace. There is nothing more joyful to our King. He knows that your heart is shattered, He knows that growth will be unbelievably challenging for you, but you need to know that it is not too late. It is NEVER too late. There is never a time in which you are too broken to come back. He loves you, regardless. You are His prize, and He is fighting for your heart, no matter how far away you have run.
He paints the sky every single day in hopes that you will be reminded to come running back. Your lover is calling you home, in the biggest and most profound way; in colors that roar the praises of Heaven. He doesn’t care how far you have gone, He is begging you to come home. Let Him satisfy you.
And once again, you reach the arms of grace, gently welcoming you in, with the biggest celebration Heaven has ever seen. God has handed you His shield of victory (Ps. 18:35). God snatched you from the grip of the one who was devouring you.
He will not keep you here, however. Like a potter, He will shape you. Like a potter, He will refine you.
Listen carefully, your King is calling.