When I was a child, I hated conflicts, confrontations, arguments or anything that seemed disagreeable. My solution was to run and hide. However, if I was the one who had brought about the conflict, my parents would inevitably find me and my day of reckoning would come.
Later, in college, I still found myself wanting to avoid any unpleasant situations. Once again, my solution was to avoid it or run from it rather than face it. As my husband would say, this avoidance of facing reality started in the Garden. Indeed, it did. Neither Adam nor Eve wanted to face God after their act of disobedience. However, whether it is an act of disobedience that we are trying to escape responsibility for or just a very difficult crisis in our lives, God does not want us to run away from it.
Once again, an interesting discussion came up in our work place the other day as we were talking about a person whose spouse had Alzheimer's. The consensus seemed to be that this is a horrible disease and no one wants to go through it and be a burden to anyone. Naturally, no one wants to be afflicted by this disease, but as I pointed out, the person who has it is blissfully unaware of the affect it has on others. I know. My mother suffered from this for ten years and I looked after her. When I mentioned this and how I managed to get through this difficult time, the response was, "Yes, but you cannot tell me it wasn't terribly painful and you wished that you could have avoided this." Certainly, I had many struggles emotionally while watching my mother slowly move into a fog from which there was no return, but I also learned better how to love her. God used this in my life to help grow me in His grace. Was it easy? No!
As our discussion continued, I said, "Aren't we running away from God's purposes to grow us up when we say we do not or will not go through a hard place?" Once again, it may be that in God's providence for our lives we must face some painful things that we might become conformed more to Christ. Those ten years with an ailing mother were hard because I had four small children whom I was homeschooling at the time. Yet, when my mother left this life, I knew I had done all I could to help her. I had peace and a much greater love for her than ever before. This is what Peter spoke of in his letter: "And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen and establish you" (I Peter 5:10). This is what God did for me.
Jesus made it clear that in this world we would have sorrows, troubles and difficulties. He said: "I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world" (John 16:33). Lets face it. Would we ever grow up into a deeper walk with God if we never faced problems? Being a Christian doesn't mean that some how all of life will be easy. However, we serve a God who will walk with us through the hard places. He will give us peace and all that we need to find our way through it.
If we choose to run away from difficulties, we are prolonging the process of growing in Christ. Instead of hiding from situations, we need to run to the arms of our heavenly Father. We need to ask Him what He wants us to learn from this situation. Painful as life may be, we cannot avoid disease, death, heartache. It comes to both the just and unjust alike. The difference the world wants to see in a Christian is how you will, with God's help, walk through the trial.
Job, after losing his family, his wealth, his health and even the support of his wife said: "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him...." (Job 13:15a). He certainly did not understand the test and trials he was undergoing, but in the end, God restored to Him a family and strengthened his faith in the sovereignty of God over every aspect of his life. May we have that trust, that faith in God to yield to His purposes for our life without whining, complaining, or running away. For those who stay the course, James has this to say: "Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life which God has promised to those who love Him" (James 1:12). Selah!