When You Want to Run Far, Far Away

"Father, please answer my prayer soon? I'm so miserable here, and this is too hard. I don't want to do this for another day. Please . . ."

My heart has echoed these words more times than I can count during some of the hardest seasons I've faced—from family strife to singleness to health issues. At my lowest points, I've even considered, What would happen if I just walked away from the Lord? Surely anything would be better than my current struggle.

I've seen this pattern in my heart regularly and have prayerfully considered why I struggle so much with trusting God when things are hard. Ultimately, it has to do with my constant battle with sin (Rom. 8:13). But, more specifically, the Lord has shown me something that often feeds this conflict in my soul: I just want to run away from hard things. I've recently started referring to this as my "escapist" mentality.

Have you been tempted to do just about anything to find a way to get out of your current situation and into an ideal one?

Maybe you can relate. You feel stuck in a job you don't like. Or, you're weary in waiting for that knight in shining armor to sweep you off your feet. You might be crushed by another reminder that your body is failing. You feel as if life is caving in on you and sense that God, Himself, is applying the pressure (Job 16:12).

The thing you want most is to escape. And, you've been tempted to do just about anything to find a way to get out of your current situation and into an ideal one.

We live in a culture that feeds and affirms this tendency in our hearts. It's all too common to expect ease and to do whatever it takes to alleviate pressure. Don't like your job? Get a new one. Don't like your house? Upgrade. Fed up with your spouse? Divorce. Need to lose weight? Buy a pill.

The message is clear: just make a change if anything gets too hard. Easier is better, we believe. We're often found questioning God when hard things come our way.

But, as those who trust in Christ, it's vital that we renew our minds with what God's Word says about our hardships. A recent radio guest on Revive Our Hearts reminded us, Hard is hard, but hard is not bad.

So why isn't hard bad, even though it hurts terribly? Here's a wonderful truth: the hard things—sometimes unthinkable things—that our Sovereign Father allows in our lives are not meant for our harm, but for our immense good (Rom. 8:28). They're not meant for punishment, either. Jesus already bore the punishment we deserved on the cross. And while God could remove every hard thing with a word, His mysterious providence is working out a plan that often defies our limited comprehension.

Take the suffering of Job, for example. To the human eye, it looked as if he was being punished. He lost every so-called sign of God's blessing: his health, wealth, and prosperity. However, something far greater was going on behind the scenes; God's wise sovereignty and Job's righteousness were being proved. This was about glory, and even Satan's schemes in a fallen world were shown to be subordinate to God's greater purposes (Job 1:6–12).

The Lord often uses hard seasons to purify us. You see, we still require discipline, even as those who are born again (Heb. 12:3–14). Though it probably feels quite the opposite, God would be anything but loving if He always gave us a life of ease. Our hearts might become self-reliant and disregard our need for Him (Ps. 73:12; James 5:5). Instead, He's producing increased faith, endurance, character, hope, and a greater experience of His love for us in Christ as we walk through suffering (Rom. 5:3–5).

Hard is hard, but hard is not bad.

One glance at our Savior will confirm He often leads us the longer, harder way as we walk with Him. The Son of God set His eyes on the joy of obeying His Father, set His feet on the earth He sustains, and endured a thirty-three year life that culminated in the worst suffering imaginable (Heb. 12:1–4). Satan offered Him the shorter, easier way; but, praise God, He refused (Matt. 4:9–10). Our salvation would not be possible if Jesus had taken matters into His own hands in order to escape the cross (Luke 22:42). We have a magnificent Savior who endured hardship so we might be sustained through our own!

I'm so grateful our God doesn't minimize the suffering He calls us to and also that He faced it head-on Himself. Even though we don't have all the answers, we can know He is using our "hard" to prepare for us an eternal weight of glory beyond compare (2 Cor. 4:17). May the Lord help us to stay the course and cling to Him. And may the harder roads only serve our satisfaction in His wisdom when we finally see things as they really are.

What about you? Do you find yourself in a situation you just want to *run from? How is God sustaining and strengthening you to press on in faithfulness to Him?

*We're not talking about situations where you may be in danger. In that case, we encourage you to ask for help and remove yourself from that situation.

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About the Author

Lindsay Swartz

Lindsay Swartz

Lindsay serves at the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) as the managing editor of content. She completed her Master of Divinity at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. She's navigating single life in her thirties and loves movies, traveling, good food, coffee shops, girly things, and sports. She lives in Nashville, TN and is loving every minute of living in Music City.

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