The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe. Proverbs 18:10 ESV
Do you ever have days when you just want to run away? Anywhere but here. . .but what if what you want to run from is “in you?”
I don’t talk about chronic/invisible/mental illness here often, but on occasion I must speak, because there just is no ignoring it . . .
When I exert, there are consequences. According to Newton’s Third Law of Motion (yep, back to high school physics class) “every action has an equal and opposite reaction;” the simplified definition. . .for every force there is a reaction force that is equal in size, but opposite in direction. . . whenever an object pushes another object it gets pushed back in the opposite direction equally hard. (shout out to Rice University for the understandable explanation for this very non-science major)
How does that apply physically? spiritually? emotionally? Well, for one thing, much as I would like to, I cannot just compartmentalize myself. Physical exertion affects my emotions and my spirit, just as emotional exertion weighs on my physical and spiritual being. The psalmist knew how fine-tuned and intricate we are, i.e. fearfully and wonderfully made . . .marvelous are your works, Lord God! (Psalm 139). When I lead a study, or teach a class, or even have a lively conversation for more than 15 minutes, I must submit to the reality that I must be quiet for most of the next morning, because sleep will be difficult and non-restorative. Besides the physical, my emotional being suffers fatigue, with periods of depression and mental exhaustion (i.e. can’t focus/think/process input), and then the spiritual “reaction” comes into play, with the assaulting thoughts of my un-worth and failure and temptations to doubt God’s goodness and care for me.
If it sounds like a real mess, can you see why sometimes I just want to run away? But where can I run? Again, Psalm 139–
7Where shall I go from your Spirit? Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there! If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day,for darkness is as light with you.
God, who formed my inward parts (including my brain/heart/lungs/kidneys/liver/hormones) and appointed every one of my days (v. 16) knows all of this, and even more mysteriously, has a purpose in mind to use all of this for His glory and for my good (yep, back to Romans 8)
So, do I run? Yes, but not in the way that is natural to me. God has provided a place for me to run for safety and relief. It’s straight into His everlasting arms. His name, His character, His truth is where I must run. That is my only safety.
God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved to the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. (Psalm 46:1-3 ESV)
My “running” this year has been especially focused on memorizing God’s Word. Not isolated verses — paragraphs. Chapters. Context. God has enabled this broken brain to “store up” His Word for my safety (Psalm 119:11). I don’t know how it is possible, but I do know that God has done it, and I praise him for his goodness. . .