The Father’s kind whisper made tears fall hard and fast, mixing with the sweat pouring down my face. It was a Thursday afternoon on a particularly hard day for so many reasons that were difficult to even put into words. It was the kind of day that beckoned me to grab my bike and head for the hills just past the highway.
As I rode alongside my friend, songs that declared truths about Father God rang in my ears, leaving my heart and soul feeling raw and exposed, two feelings I try desperately to avoid. And so I pushed harder. Sweat poured down my face and into my eyes. My muscles burned desperately. My whole body ached as I climbed a hill.
Faster and faster and faster.
Past slower cyclists.
But after one hill came another and then another and another, and my tired body screamed so very loud.
I felt the very real sense that this was the kind of stop that meant everything–mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically. Get off the bike. Just stop.
I wish I could say that I listened to His gentle whisper right away, but I didn’t. I kept riding, an ever-growing ache threatening to break apart my heart. I like to think I am so very strong. After all, I am a marathon runner. I don’t let pain or challenges or setbacks stop me. I keep moving forward. I keep running. I may not be the fastest, but I will keep going after most have given up.
His kind whisper came again and again and again, like it was keeping time with the pedals, like it was the very breath I was exhaling. And so I finally stopped on the side of the road in rural Thailand. I wept with God my Father and was held by God my Mother.
In so many ways, I am a runner. I would rather run from emotion than walk through it. I would rather run from pain than feel it. I would rather run from all the difficult lessons and words and moments with the Father than allow Him to chisel away what needs to go.
These weeks in Thailand have been marked by more moments of pain and healing and walking through the mess and muck of life than I could have anticipated. There are so many areas of my life that the Father longs to touch, to spread His love through, but I have been surprised and caught off guard by it all. And most of all, I’ve been surprised and caught off guard by the deep love and grace and forgiveness and mercy that meets me in those moments.
As I wept on the side of the road, I was caught off guard by a God who longed to walk with me through it all–the pain, the mess, the muck. I was caught off guard by a God who was so deeply personal–who knew me and saw me, and even still loved me with a kind of love that my heart can’t even comprehend.
In this season, the Father is day by day redeeming this one word–love. Love is vulnerable. Love is a great unknown. Love is strong. Love is patient and kind. Love believes the best about others. Love never ever gives up. Love is incredibly large. Love is abounding. Love is not the cliche culture has boxed it into.
And for a very long time, I have found myself running from this deep kind of love. I’ve found myself running from being deeply seen and known by love, by the Father, by others. I’ve found myself living in fear of this deep kind of love, the kind of love that actually sets us free us from fear.
Day after day, I am filled with a ever deepening feeling that love will be the thing that frees me from all this running. It will be the thing that frees me from striving and proving. It will be the thing that frees me from fear. It will be the thing that changes my life, changes other’s lives, changes a community, changes a country, changes the very world we live in.
Because love is incredibly large and kind and patient. It is gentle. It is a place of shelter. It fights for others. It believes the best about others. It never ever gives up. It’s not selfish. It looks out for others. It is so much bigger than tolerance. It is grace and forgiveness and holiness. It is the very root of life itself, at least it’s the root of the kind of life I long to have and share with others.
So these days, I am trying to listen to the kind whispers of my Father, the whispers that say stop running. And I’m trying to obey a little faster. We were not created to run from. We were created to find healing and wholeness and life in the love of the Father.
And so I am trying to let go, to stop running. I’m trying to feel my way through the mess and the muck and the hurt and the pain with Jesus by my side, because healing is on the other side of it all. Sometimes healing is in the midst of it all. And that sweet resting place of the Father’s love, that is what I long for more than anything else.
Beloved, He whispers, Stop running. Rest in my love.
And so I will.
Day by day by day by day.
Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.
-Ephesians 3:17 (TPT)