Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Cross (as in the Cross of Christ) (08/17/06)
TITLE: The Runner
By Karen Polk
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She was running with all the strength she could muster up. The weight of the burden she was carrying as she ran felt heavier with each step she took. Worse yet, she could not be rid of the one she was running from. She ran harder! So did the other runner. She turned onto side streets. That did nothing to deter her follower. What must she do to be rid of her follower? She wanted nothing more to do with her! She couldn’t stand her! In fact, she detested her and saw her as her worst enemy. Perhaps if she were to find a place and go into hiding, that would be the answer. But where could she go? It seemed she tried so many times, only to be found again. She wished it could all be so different. She wanted to be friends with this one who followed. She had strived to treat her with kindness, but the result was anger and intense hatred, for it seemed this follower could never seem to do anything right.
The running continued with great intensity! Daily she would search for a new place to run. She cried out to God for help! It seemed He wasn’t hearing her cries. She felt so alone, except for her follower, the very one she didn’t want to be alone with! She was scared! She had used all other methods of defense, but she realized her follower wasn’t giving up. Now she resorted to running. She wanted to run away as far as she could go!
The sun was setting and the runner ran, stumbling over potholes in the road, not caring that she was getting weaker from her increasingly lack of strength to go on. She knew it was getting more and more dangerous to be on this run. She tripped on a rock in the road. She didn’t care that her knee had took the brunt of the fall, making it hard to stand up. She quickly stood and took off running again in a fast pace in hopes of losing her follower.
Finally, she arrived to the drive of her home. Even the lights there were dimly lit, indicating bedtime had arrived and most of the family had retired for the night. She wondered if they even cared that she had been gone so long.
She reached the yard and crumpled to the ground and so did her follower. She was exhausted! She needed help and she needed it now. She could not keep running in this manner. Her body was beginning to take on the toll of such excursions.
She cried out to God once again, as she had already done so many times in the past. Maybe He would hear her this time.
The tears poured forth. It felt good to release her many, mixed emotions. Her eyes became weary of the tears and her face hurt from tension. She sat up and leaned against a nearby tree stump. The air of the night was refreshing. She hadn’t noticed it earlier on her run. In fact, she hadn’t noticed anything except her follower. Now, her follower seemed to be sitting quietly with her, not attempting to cause her any harm. She pulled her knees up to her chest and wrapped her arms around them as if to hug them. She needed to just be quiet now and listen. Perhaps that is all God has been waiting for, is for her to allow Him to speak. Instead she had been choosing to run.
She sat. She quietly asked God if He still loved her even though she struggled to love this follower. She knew this follower had a name. The follower was her. She had run in order to get away from her own self. Now she sat with realization that running would not solve the problems she had created for herself with all her wrong choices. No, instead she needed to love this one, somehow.
She listened. Gently, God spoke to her heart. “My daughter,” He seemed to say, “I love you so much that it extends all the way to the Cross and back again. Yes, that’s how much I love you!”
She stood up. She would run no more to escape, except into the arms of her Heavenly Father. If He could love her that much, she knew, with His help, she would learn to love herself.
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