I Can't Run
Words by Kara Triboulet
Think back to the time you fell in love with Jesus. That time when it finally clicked. All those Sunday School classes, all those Bible stories, all those Christmases and Easters celebrating something you didn’t fully understand yet. Then think back to when it all started to make sense.
Think back to the time when you first became in awe of what the cross meant. When you first understood the that the veil separating us and God has been torn in two – forever – and it brought to your knees, brought you to tears. Back when you first could feel the tangible love of the Father well up in your heart to the point where your cup began to overflow.
If you haven’t fallen in love with Jesus, I pray you do. It will easily be the best day of your life.
When I fell in love with Jesus, I naturally started to fall in love with the church. All I wanted to do was know how to edify her, serve her, and build her up. But the thing is, the more intentional you become about loving something, the more you become aware of their imperfections -- the parts that aren't as easy to love. And this was true about the church as well.
Sometimes, I just want to go back-back to when I was younger, when all of this was new. When I was so hungry to know more, I would stay up an extra hour just read about Jesus. When I was just discovering what it meant to be a disciple of Jesus and the only problems I had were how to be like Jesus around my friends who didn’t really feel the same way I did about Him. When it was just Him and me.
I was quickly exposed to just how messy ministry was. The hushed conversations between pastors I would overhear as they conversed about another e-mail complaint they received. The crossed arms and the squinting eyes of the congregation as the worship band tried to lead stiff-necked people to the throne room of God.
Sometimes, I just want to go back to before -- before I witnessed the tears of my pastors as they pleaded to the Lord for the souls of those who criticize from their seats. And before I understood what Paul meant when he told the Galatians that if they kept biting and devouring each other, they would be destroyed by each other. And before I learned that people care about coffee being available to them on Sunday morning more than being “Jesus” to the one who was told not to make it for them that day.
I realized that there are always going to be people who just don’t get it, even when it’s spelled out right in front of them. The sad truth that Pharisees and Sadducees still parade around Christian churches yelling “Amen” and “Hallelujah” as they crucify the only one who can save them from their false piety.
Sometimes, I want to go back to before -- before I received the label of the youth pastor and people stopped talking around me because the pastor just walked in. And before people turned a deaf ear to me because the pastor has to say how awesome it is that Jesus died for their sins because that’s their “job.”
I learned quickly about the frustration that comes with people rejecting the voice of my Jesus who I fell in love with, who loved them enough to die for them.
When I was falling in love with Jesus, I didn't truly understand why Jesus overturned the tables at the temple. Now, I do. I understood why he looked to Jerusalem, to the people he came to die for, and wept because they rejected his message. Because they rejected him as King. Because they rejected him as their Savior.
It is in these moments that I just want to run and hide. Run back to my childhood bedroom, close the door, and just be alone. Just me and Jesus. Away from everyone and everything.
But that would be wrong. That would go against everything I am – everything that God is in me.
Jesus didn’t run.
Yes, he went to be alone with his Father in the Garden, pleading that the cup would be removed from him. But he also asked for the Father’s will and not his, and willingly made himself available to be arrested.
He literally had the weight of every soul on his shoulders as he stumbled to carry the cross. As people began to mock him and spit on him, he continued to press forward, asking the Father to forgive them because they didn’t even realize that he was doing this for them.
No, I have no idea what it was like to die for the sins of the world – and praise God because I am no Jesus Christ. I am not saying all this to compare my feelings with Jesus’ as he went to the cross. But if I am to be like Jesus, to be his disciple, I look to how Jesus responds when he is called to do something for the kingdom of God.
I can’t run. Because on January 10, 2007, I fell madly in love with Jesus, and I told him that I was all in. Whatever he wanted me to do, I would do it.
I can’t run. Because in April 2011, I finally said “Yes” to His call to full-time ministry, and I told him that I was all in, that in trial or triumph, I would remember my call and build his Kingdom.
I am still in love with Jesus. And my relationship with Him may not be how it was when it first began, but it is only getting deeper.
And in these moments of weakness, in these longings for before, I will go to my Garden and be alone with my Father. But I won’t stay there. I will make myself available for whatever it is he wants me to do.
And I will remember that the story didn’t end with the cross.
He rose again.