Hit and Run


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. 

*Jonah 2:8

And Failure Comes on Like a Virus

Failure came on like a virus this week, only instead of the runny nose, headache, and feverish brow it was the self hate, the loathing, the sense of inadequacy.

And there was no Tylenol PM or cold medicine for this virus. Just tears and sadness and “if only’s”.

I felt uniquely unqualified. 

The tears started early morning when the alarm went off and I was bone tired. They turned into anger when I realized I hadn’t planned well and would be late to the meeting where I was expected. Continuing through the day every where I looked were signs of my inadequacy — work undone, home in need of organizing, emails never responded to, and reminders that I am inadequate as a mom.

I was miserable in my virus of failure. The tears brought a cathartic release to the pent-up feelings. While they trickled in the morning, they poured like a monsoon rain in the afternoon. With each tear came a confession of failure.

These times, during these viruses, when Tylenol or Advil  have little effect, this is when I need the voice of God, when I need the truth of God. Truth about who I am, and truth about who He is.

And truth is that I join the “march of the unqualified”, that group of people I read about who were inadequate, who failed. The King who stayed home from battle and slept with another man’s wife; the prophet who ran from the call of God and ended up in the belly of a whale; the man raised in the Pharaoh’s household who said “I can’t do it! I can’t speak! Let my brother speak for me”; the woman who said “Let’s trick your dad into thinking you are your brother so that you can get the birthright”.*

All these, uniquely unqualified, somehow survived the virus of failure, and were met by God, were used by God.

None of my circumstances have changed, I still feel the after effects of this virus. And just like after a fever, I am weak. But the tears have changed. Instead of self loathing and inadequacy I cry out to God for his love and his adequacy and exhausted I kneel in confession.

And with confession come this truth – that when the virus of failure envelopes me, He who does not fail surrounds me.

*Biblical characters – David, Jonah, Moses, Rebekah