Running to Trust God

It was a beautiful spring day in my neck of the woods, so I decided to embark on a run by myself. With three young children at home, the glorious experience of doing anything by myself was so appealing that my mouth started watering at the deliciousness of the possibility. The kids were occupied with one of their grandmothers for the moment, and when she assured me that all was well, I literally snuck out of the house. Like a guilty teenager, I closed the door as quietly as I could so I would not be heard. I felt a twinge of guilt as I reached down to tighten the laces on my old dusty running shoes. I noticed for the hundredth time the hole in my shoe on the front side where my big toe goes. As I began my slow run, I was reminded of my C-section scar, as the discomfort set in from long-neglected core muscles now forced to engage. I felt the pain and breathed through it. I refused to let any amount of discomfort ruin the next hour of my life. I was alone with nothing but the breeze creating a glorious path of leaves and pollen on the ground before me. This became my red carpet, inviting me to take center stage for a moment in time. As I ran, I found myself praying. As I prayed, God brought to mind the brokenness in our relationship. I told God that I knew I had been avoiding it. And our conversation began:

God said, “You can trust me with that you know.”

I knew what God was talking about. I stopped trusting God with my kids a while ago because of the accident, because of the C-section, because of the therapy, because of all the pain, all the fear, all the brokenness in the world.

I said, “I can’t. Not with them.” There was a long pause, and then pain from what felt like a punch in the gut that lingered. I ran faster, hoping that would eliminate the pain. Nothing was going to keep me from this hour, I reminded myself. Not even God.

Then I said, “Don’t you see how much you’re asking? Don’t you see how hard that is, how impossibly hard that is!?” Another long pause. “They came from me. They came from my body,” I said.

Without hesitation, God said, “Yes. And you came from mine.”

I stopped running. The gut-punch pain that I had been feeling as I tried to fight back tears released suddenly as the tears poured from my eyes like a clogged fountain unexpectedly becoming unclogged.

In the days since my run, I have pondered the broken body of Jesus on the cross because brokenness has been my experience. The brokenness in my own story reminds me that “the story of Christians experiencing adversity is nothing less than a narrative of their participation in the story of Jesus, itself deeply rooted in the story of Israel’s Scripture.” [1]

For those of us who have known brokenness, I want us to be reminded of two things in this season.

  1. The cross of Jesus shows us a God who joins us in suffering.
  2. The cross of Jesus sets suffering in a cosmic story in which the same God who breathed life at creation breathed his last, gasping for air. His suffering brings about a new creation.

So, as I run and as I hold this image of Jesus, I am more and more persuaded that I can trust a God who knows what it is like to give life out of brokenness. Because in case you haven’t heard, the tomb is empty.

[1] Mark D. Baker and Joel B. Green, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross: Atonement in New Testament and Contemporary Contexts, 2nd ed. (Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2011), 34.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of the First Colony Church of Christ.

 

After more than a decade spent ministering to students and families in domestic and international contexts, Kelly Edmiston has developed a passion to equip the church for works of ministry. Kelly, originally from Abilene, Texas, is currently the student and family minister at the First Colony Church of Christ in Sugar Land, Texas. Kelly is a frequent retreat speaker, Bible teacher, and writer. Her writing has been featured on Scot McKnight’s “Jesus Creed” and Sean Palmer’s “The Palmer Perspective.” She will soon complete a Master of Divinity from Abilene Christian University. Her areas of interest are liberation theology, practical theology, and spiritual formation. Kelly and her husband Ben enjoy “suburban life” with their three children.

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Author:  Publish Date: April 4, 2018

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The CHARIS website hosts conversations of and about Churches of Christ. In partnership with the ACU Library and the Siburt Institute for Church Ministry at Abilene Christian University (Abilene, TX), the website is supported and led by the Center for Heritage and Renewal in Spirituality (CHARIS) at ACU. The Center’s mission is to renew Christian spirituality through engagement of Christian heritage, at Abilene Christian University and beyond. The views expressed on the CHARIS website are those of the various authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Abilene Christian University or CHARIS at ACU. Questions or comments about the CHARIS website can be directed to charis @ acu.edu.

2017-18 CHARIS Editorial Board:
Dr. Carisse Berryhill
Dr. Jason Fikes
Karissa Herchenroeder
Mac Ice
Chai Green
Tammy Marcelain
Molly Scherer
Dr. John Weaver

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