Having made the long drive down I-5 to southern California 3 times within the last 5 months, I have come appreciate much of God's creation that can be seen from the car window along the way. The area I look forward to most is definitely the stretch of rolling hills somewhere over the California border. Being an Oregon native, I have no idea where this area actually is in relation to the rest of the state, but it certainly is hard to miss. Grassy hills span what seems to be many acres of land, extending far beyond what one can see from the road. No matter who my companions are or how deep we may be in conversation, as soon as those hills come into sight my eyes are glued to the window. My imagination runs wild with thoughts of racing, spinning, strolling, and rolling through the hills, with only my Jesus keeping my me company. The further I run into the hills, finding the most obscure crevices to bury myself in, the more my troubles and stresses and agendas of every day life simply melt away. There are no people to confuse me or let me down, no expections forced upon me by society, no responsibilities, no fear of failing others or failing myself.
Everytime these wistful thoughts cross my mind while I drool over those hills of freedom and abandonment, I find them to be fleeting and short of satisfaction. Aside from knowing that the escape found in the hills couldn't last for long, since the fields lack many things necessary for survival, there is an additional emptiness to those thoughts of running away. Although I know Jesus loves some quality, un-interrupted Britni time, I also know he desires to use me and put me on this earth that I may bear fruit and further his Kingdom. Running from this world may offer a bit of instant gratification and relief, but it also sufficiently seperates me from those broken people that Jesus wants to use me and my testimony to extend his love.
For lack of knowing how to articulate a conclusion to this simple concept, I'll draw on the Word of Yahweh. He usually knows how to say it best :)
When talking to His Father, Jesus asks that we "not be taken out of the World, but that He protect us from the evil one." (John 17)
Therefore we are to be IN this world, among the people of this world, facing the same struggles, hardships, disappointments, frustrations, temptations and sin that the people of this world are facing. The only difference (a BIG difference at that) is that we are living in this world under the protection of the One who created it. Now, shouldn't we also be offering that saving grace and protection to those we are living with?
Join me in running to the people, not to the hills.