13 April, Monday – Running on empty

Acts 2:14, 22-33
Mt 28:8-15

…went away quickly from the tomb, fearful yet overjoyed, and ran to announce the news to his disciples.

When I think of running I envision children. Children run. Constantly. With reckless abandon and joy. Laughing, shouting, even tripping over themselves. Children run to friends, run to fun, run to their parents. Children simply run.

Adults run too – just not always physically. We run towards what we want, and away from what we don’t want, and we run in circles. Oftentimes, this running isn’t even a conscious decision, our running from or to. It’s just running because, well, everyone else is running. And I know the enemy is around us, constantly whispering in our ears, “run faster, run harder, run the other way, you have to catch up with that person, you’re running too slow, you don’t want to get passed up, run faster, you don’t want to get beat, you don’t want to come in last ..run, run run.” 

All the running makes us tired, and we usually run exhausted in the circles we have deemed worth running in. We complain that we are exhausted from all the running around, and yet we continue to run. And run. And run. We run to be better than others. We run to be part of the crowd. We run to avoid the crowd. We run away to hide, and we run away because we feel too much, or too little, or nothing at all. Our constant running has resulted in exhaustion — physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. No time for true worship. No time for settling our hearts. No time to ponder Him. No time because we are too busy running, or exhausted from running, and we just need to chill out on Netflix, or we need to work out more, or we need to shop, or…. fill in the blank.

And now, even though many of us are quarantined in our homes, we are still running. Many are running scared in their thoughts. Many are running up their stress with constant media in our ears and eyes. We as a nation, and perhaps as a world, are running on empty. We have either run ourselves through an invisible wall of tension, turbulence, anxiety, fear, bitterness, darkness, coldness…we are running on a crooked road of empty darkness.

Apparently we don’t know where to turn. Why? Because we are empty of all, or most, of what matters. We are forgetting His promises. We are forgetting His words. We are forgetting we are His – first and foremost. 

One of my favorite daily prayers is from Cardinal Mercier:

Come Holy Spirit
Replace the tension within me with a holy relaxation.
Replace the turbulence within me with a sacred calm.
Replace the anxiety within me with a quiet confidence.
Replace the fear within me with a strong faith.
Replace the bitterness within me with the sweetness of grace.
Replace the darkness within me with a gentle light.
Replace the coldness within me with a loving warmth.
Replace the night within me with your light.

Straighten my crookedness. Fill my emptiness. Dull the edge of my pride. Sharpen the edge of my humility. Light the fires of my love. Quench the flames of my lust. 

Let me see myself as You see me, that I may see You as you have promised, and be fortunate according to Your word:  “Blessed are the pure of heart,  for they shall see God.”

God is always running to us. Maybe by the time this coronavirus has run its course, we will come back to knowing that there is only one direction we need to run in — to Him. Maybe we will be like those on the first Easter morning, fearful yet overjoyed, running to share the news, though they still weren’t certain exactly what ‘the news’ meant, they just knew it was about Jesus.

(Today’s Oxygen by Gina Ulicny)

Prayer: Heavenly Father, how pathetic we are, constantly running exhausted, and usually not to You. We pray that at this time of uneasiness in our life and the whole world, you will draw us near like never before in our lifetime. That You would open our eyes to how we have been living and guide us to live daily in your will. We pray that our running would be like the joy of children, with our eyes on only You.

Thanksgiving: Father God, how we thank you and praise your Almighty name! We thank you for covering us with your love at all times. We thank you for the good that is coming out of this global coronavirus pandemic, for stopping our running so that we are with our families and loved ones. We thank you for stopping our running so that we can be present to the moment, where You are.

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