Last Thursday, a car ran over two pedestrians just outside my office. It was in the center of one of the busiest tourist areas of the city.
The car was on top of the victims as the driver ran off into the crowds. Several people helped to lift the car off the victims and they were rushed to a nearby hospital. Miraculously, none of them sustained fatal injuries.
I can’t stop thinking about that driver. Part of me thinks “How could she do that? How could she possibly just run off like that?”
Unfortunately, the other part of me understands exactly why she did what she did. I am just like her in more ways than I would like to think. There are too many times where I would rather run from things that I did or said then face them. There are too many times when I don’t want to stay and face my current reality. There are too many times when I think running is the answer.
It’s the Jonah effect. Jonah was the infamous guy in the Old Testament who ran from God and ended up in the belly of a whale. He just couldn’t do what God wanted him to do. He couldn’t face the reality that God had for him.
Yet, when we accept our reality, we receive so much grace. Grace to live well. Grace to love well.
It’s in the book of Jonah that we find a profound prayer; a prayer that is offered to God in the midst of a crisis. In the middle of the prayer is a verse that I have always loved “Those who cling to worthless idols, forfeit the mercy that could be theirs.”* Other translations say it like this: “Those who cling to worthless idols, turn away from God’s love for them.”
Running from my current reality will never work. Instead, as I run I forfeit the mercy and grace that is mine for the asking.
The hit and run driver was found. She faces far worse charges than she would have had she faced the reality of her actions. But my heart understands her motives far too well.
I think of this today as I face my current reality: Stop running. Stop avoiding. Face reality. Accept grace.
These are words to live by.