Part One can be read here. I don’t yet know how many “parts” this series will be, and I may even post other things in between, but I want to share with you how falling in love with Jesus is about remembering the “firsts” of your relationship with him. This post includes “first” number two, and I hope to share with you other “firsts” I have experienced with God in the weeks to come.
The First Time I Saw God Run
It was the spring of 1986. Back when “Spring Break” used to be called “Easter Vacation.” I sat in the Main Chapel of Mt. Gilled Bible Camp and listened as our speaker challenged us with truths from God’s Word. I honestly don’t remember what the teaching was about, but I do remember the conviction that was weighing heavy on my heart. My 14th birthday was just around the corner, but already I had done plenty of living for myself. Fashion and boys concerned me a lot more than the condition of my heart. Church was something I did because it was fun to see my friends. And loving God was a task on my to do list.
But in that chapel service, God showed me something that changed my thinking forever.
Anyone who has grown up in church knows that feeling. You know…the one you get when the words that are being spoken aren’t necessarily being heard, they are, in fact, piercing your heart. Your pulse begins to race, your palms get sweaty, and you know that some part of your life is about to do a 180 and you can’t decide if it’s going to feel good or not. Yep, that is what I was feeling as the musician began to play a song called, “When God Ran.”
As soon as I heard the words, tears began to pour down my face…
Almighty God, The Great I Am,
Immovable Rock, Omnipotent, Powerful,
Victorious Warrior, Commanding King of Kings,
Mighty Conqueror and the only time,
The only time I ever saw him run,
He ran to me,
He took me in His arms,
Held my head to His chest,
Said “My son’s come home again!”
Lifted my face,
Wiped the tears from my eyes,
With forgiveness in His voice He said
“Son, do you know I still love You?”
He caught me By surprise, When God ran…
The thing is, I come from a good Christian family. I was only 13 years old. How could I already be feeling the suffocating weight of sin in my life? Because I believe that we are each born with a God-sized hole in our heart. And as I headed into my teen years I did what ever I could to fill it up with approval from others, but anytime we try to fill that hole with anything other than God it eats us up inside. But as the words of the song came to life and penetrated my soul, it was like being delivered from chronic pain. The tears started to fall, accompanied by feelings of remorse, and guilt, not for anything I had done but for Who I had left out. But then “as He ran to me, held my head to His chest…“, I had the most beautiful picture in my head of God running toward me, forgiving me. He wasn’t standing there with his arms folded waiting for me to run. He ran to me…and then ever so gently he, “…Lifted my face, wiped the tears from my eyes,” and I remember feeling His peace wash over me as I raised my arms to Him with the most grateful heart, and my tears of guilt were turned into tears of joy.
Yes, I definitely remember the first time I saw God run…and my life has never been the same.