Relationships at home, problems at school; trouble with a capital T.
His first attempt at running away happened early one morning about 5 a.m. He followed his brother out the garage door (though he wasn’t seen by him) as he left to attend to his morning paper route. Three blocks down the road, however, the young lad chickened out as he thought about not seeing his family ever again. He had to sneak back into the house.
Running away became easier as the weeks and months went by, and by the time he was in tenth grade he had hit the runaway trail a number of times. He was never gone longer than three days before someone would either give his parents information of his whereabouts or the police would find him hitchhiking around town and take him to the juvenile detention center.
And ultimately back home.
Until he began his out of state travels.
Running away never solved a thing. It didn’t mend any broken relationships, and never changed anyone’s thinking. All it did was create and reinforce a terrible, destructive defense mechanism within the soul of a kid who was trying to grow into a man.
You know, once a person develops the habit of running away from trouble, problems, feelings, or whatever they can’t handle, running away becomes the default answer for everything.
The runaway found himself trying to escape life’s issues in many ways. Drugs, pornography (it’s a form of running away), music, perfection, attempting to earn affection and acceptance, and even by using a brand new faith in Jesus; not understanding the love of God is unconditional.
For instance, when the runaway found new life in Jesus, he thought at last others would accept him, too.
Wrong. The runaway found the wrong denomination. Not acceptable.
Unconditional love is foreign to so many. That’s why many have become runaways and choose to check out when life isn’t fair, or when they’ve failed to meet a loved one’s expectations.
When no amount of obedience or self abasing gains the attention of the runaway’s loved ones, off they go; hitting the highway, popping a pill, or finding acceptance with a group who really doesn’t love them.
Only uses and abuses them.
The runaway will rely upon that form of defense for their whole life unless they finally come to grips with the truth.
Truth. The truth about themselves, and the truth about God and His unconditional love.
Themselves, because how they think of themselves is how they’ll respond to the various kinds of people they associate with.
For instance, some people simply do not have the capacity to love someone else “just because”. Some will only give accolades and applause when their need to be the center of the universe is met. Others can be nice to only a couple of people at a time, so if some are in good graces, others don’t have a prayer.
Still others feel the need to shove their perceived importance and power down the throat of others who don’t fall in step with their full agenda. With the slightest hint of wrongdoing, real or not, bullying takes place and the runaway is not sure what to do. Especially if the bully is supposed to be in close relationship.
The runaway lives life confused, upset with their inability to make the grade or make amends.
That is until they understand unconditional love.
The runaway I know finally came to grips with reality. He doesn’t have to do such and such, or be so and so to be someone special. He is special, because God said so.
The runaway doesn’t have to hide from life, afraid to show up lest he make a mistake and disappoint someone.
The Father’s love covers a multitude of sins, and His perfect love casts out, drives away, fear.
No longer does the runaway have to rely on his evasive skills to survive.
Not with Father standing close by, always watching over His children.
In case you are wondering, I know what I’m talking about.
I have experienced Jesus’ words, “However, those the Father has given me will come to me, and I will never reject them.” (John 6:37 NLT)
I was the runaway.