For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:38, 39
It’s flat in Indiana. Really flat. I grew up in the middle of flatness in a home between corn fields and deep ditches. When I was about three, my mom got a call from the neighbor, “Is that your daughter walking down the road by herself?” My mom went into panic mode! My sister was only five! Wasn’t she in the house? Nope, she wasn’t. My mom raced outside and found my sister on her way down the highway!
“Where are you going?!” She asked.
My sister said that she was on her way to our cousin’s house, several miles away. Thankfully, my sister was safely returned home, but I heard the story repeated over and over again. In time, the panic died away and everyone enjoyed a good laugh about the time my sister had “run away”.
I wanted that kind of attention too! What an adventure! To dare and head out on the road all alone! Cars would roar past and the wind would blow through my hair. Wouldn’t everyone laugh and talk about the time I ran away, too? I wanted to do that!
One evening my chance came! Mom was making beans for dinner and I really didn’t like beans. In fact, I hated them. I went outside and found a stick. I took it upstairs, put some important items in a small cloth and tied it to the end of the stick, just like I’d seen in a picture of someone running away. There might have been a few Legos, a matchbox truck (just like my Dad’s truck), and some gum my grandma had given me. I looked like a real explorer.
I left the house and headed down the road! The corn had been recently harvested and the wind blew hard across the plain. I felt the breeze on my face. Good thing I wore a coat! This was better than I imagined it would be! Or was it? What was that sound in the distance? Suddenly, I realized what it was and knew that I had picked the worst possible time to run away! The sound of a 1960-something, Ford, Bronco pick-up truck is very distinct and my Dad’s was no exception. I had chosen to run away just when he was returning home from work for the day and he was going to drive right past me! The engine rumble kept getting louder and louder. I could even see him in the distance and I’d never make it back home before he saw me! On either side of the road were empty fields...and ditch. I dove into the ditch, hoping that maybe he wouldn’t notice me there if I pulled my hood down over my eyes. After all, if I couldn’t see him, he couldn’t see me, right?.
When the truck roared past, I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought, he didn’t see me!! And then, almost immediately, my heart sank.
Suddenly, the ditch seemed cold and lonely, and the thought of never seeing my Mom and Dad again was even colder than the ditch.
But, my thoughts never got much farther than that because I heard the pickup lurch to a stop. I heard the truck, with a low rumble, back up and halt beside the place in the ditch that I had chosen as my hiding place. Then, the sound of heavy work boots crunched on the gravel above.
“Timmy? Why are you in the ditch?”
He drove me the half block back home. I wished it was longer. Dad had every reason to be angry with me. I knew I deserved to be punished and dreaded what that would be. Then, he told me to go to my room without my supper. I was rather happy about this since that was the whole reason I had run away from home in the first place!
I’ve run away from my heavenly Father a few more times in my life; maybe to get attention, maybe because I thought I wanted to get away from things I didn’t fully understand. Whatever the reason, I think that God has a pretty amazing Ford Bronco pickup truck. I think He’ll pull it over and stop next to any corn field or ditch and pick up His son or daughter and take them home. He’s done that for me. If I ever see anyone in the ditches of life, I want a Bronco like my Father’s. I want to say, “What are you doing in the ditch? Get in! We’ve got a home to go to!” -Tim Reutebuch, baritone