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TITLE: A Symphony of Miracles Chapter 23 Running Away 3/20/14
By Richard McCaw

Target audience: High School, College, University students asking questions about "God's existence" and/or "Evolution."
Chapter 23

Running away

Have you ever sat with a group of strangers listening to them yapping away and thought, “What are they talking about? This is so boring! I’m getting out of here!” then, you excused yourself and took off somewhere else. Perhaps you went looking for your friends, who talked your kind of language. Perhaps, you went home, turned on the television and searched the channels looking for entertainment or took up an exciting book. You ran away from a scene where nothing said related directly to your life. You felt disconnected! My first experience like that began one Sunday morning like this:

“Now, Richard,” said my mother, probably with a dishtowel over her shoulder as she stood at the gate, “Hold your sister’s hand every time you cross the street!” As we hurried down the road along the sidewalk, she may have called after us, “And watch out for cars!”

Before the great hurricane of 1951, when I was just nine, my mother used to send us to Sunday School nearby. In those days, we lived in a rented cottage on Gordon Road, a side road that ran off Slipe Pen Road, in Kingston.

Once we reached Alton Villa Road, I grabbed my sister’s hand. We stood on the sidewalk along Orange Street and watched as cars whizzed swiftly by. At the right time, we crossed over to Rosedale Avenue and at the end of the avenue faced a large open field, larger than a modern stadium then known as Kingston Race Course. Turning right, we headed for the gray wooden building, the Assembly Hall of the leading branch of the Brethren Church.

Soon, I was sitting with other nine year old boys in my own Sunday school class. Excitement must have been somewhere else, for I felt completely bored with the teacher, who sounded like a monotonous drum, beating the same rhythm, week after week. I could always tell what was coming!

“Who can say our golden text by heart today?” she asked. A few hands went up. “O.K. Paul,” she pointed to a boy in the front row. Paul rattled off the verse with a confident smile. Then she said, “Let’s all say the verse together!”

Most of us stumbled through the verse, except for the few who really knew it. Then, she started her lecture. That bright Sunday morning, a boy raised his hand. The teacher looked at him, “Yes!”

“Please, may I go outside for a drink of water, miss?”

“Go ahead!” she said, and he was out of that class in a flash.

“Hmm!” I reasoned. “Perhaps, I can raise my hand and get outside too.” So, I raised my hand and in no time I was outside. That was the last time I attended Sunday school. I had graduated to my own quiet space where I was lord of all I could see, touch and feel.

Next Sunday, I told my sister to go along to her class, while I sat by the roadside and waited for her to return when it was all over. As I waited, a big black Chevrolet drove passed. Someone waved. “Oh, no! That was my granduncle, Cleveland Levy!” He was sure to tell my mother.

When I reached home that morning, she asked me, “Richard, what did you learn at Sunday School today?” Uncle Cleve must have told her that he had seen me sitting by the roadside.

I remember making up a story. Perhaps I said, “I learned about Elijah, Mummy!”

Some years later, I was told that before I ran away, I used to race up and down the aisles after class like a frisky monkey. I had built my own reputation with the Sunday school teachers.

Years later, I returned to the same Sunday school to teach. In 1963, a local Christian magazine called ‘The Caribbean Challenge’ published my testimony with the title ‘I turned my back on God!’ Running away from the God of the universe? From personal experience, I can tell you that it does not work!

Jacob, the patriarch of Israel, fled from the wrath of his brother, Esau. In the dark one early morning, before the break of day, he awoke and lifting his head from the stone pillow on which he had been sleeping, he sensed the presence of the Lord and exclaimed, “Surely the LORD is in this place, and I did not know it. And he was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven!”

David, the psalmist once asked:, “Where shall I go from Your Spirit, and where shall I flee from Your presence?” Running away from God is impossible! Wherever we go, He is there!

Jonah, one of the Old Testament prophets, tried running away, but soon found himself in the belly of a great fish and cried out, “Out of the belly of hell I cried, and You heard my voice!” He discovered that God’s presence fills all creation.

Because the natural man is disconnected from God, he cannot discern the things of God. To an atheist, “God is nowhere!” To the Hebrews, however, God was known as ‘Jehovah-Shammah,’ which means ‘the Lord is there!’

To every believer “God is there!” That means He is everywhere. We cannot get away from Him! That to me is a wonder, a miracle surrounding us all the time in trials or in triumphs!
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