Dear Muslim and Christian friends,
What a question: “Does God run to us?”
The idea of God running may seem ridiculous to some. They might say, “God is not a human. He has no body. He is spirit. Of course He doesn’t run. It isn’t logical.”
The idea of God running may seem disrespectful to others. They might say, “It is beneath the dignity of God to be seen as running. He is majestic. Transcendent. Running is far below Him. He sits on a throne and rules. Of course He doesn’t run. It isn’t appropriate. It isn’t right.”
I certainly understand those thoughts.
I never want to portray God in a way that is untrue, disrespectful, or undignified in any way. I love Him too much to purposely diminish His glory.
Having said this, I am reminded of an incredible story told by Jesus in the Holy Injeel about God (Luke 15:11-31). Jesus was being criticized by the Jewish religious leaders for spending time with “sinners.” In response to their prideful disdain for people who did not obey the laws of God, Jesus told 3 “parables” – stories designed to reveal God’s incredible love for lost people.
The third and best known of the 3 stories – known as the “The Parable of the Lost Son” or “The Parable of the Prodigal Son” – tells of a son who shamed his father terribly by asking for his inheritance, left home for a foreign country, and squandered all his wealth in wild living. Jesus said this prodigal (a person who spends money recklessly and wastefully) son eventually found himself starving in a time of famine. Because of this, he “came to his senses” and determined to humble himself and go back to his father in sincere repentance for his many sins against him.
Jesus tells what happens next as the son headed home (Luke 15:20–24):
“. . .he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
Jesus was trying to tell the spiritually prideful – but spiritually blinded – religious leaders that “God is not Who you think He is.”
It’s as if Jesus said, “Yes, you religious leaders are right to believe that God is totally holy and cannot allow sin in His heaven. Sin must be dealt with.”
“But this what you don’t understand. You don’t understand God’s love. God is like that father who ran to that undeserving, shame-filled (but truly repentant) son and welcomed him home.”
The religious leaders could not understand this kind of love.
They could not fathom this kind of God.
This is the life-changing truth that we all need to know:
God still welcomes and embraces – like the father in the painting of the prodigal son and his father above – all who come to Him in genuine sorrow for their sins against Him.
This is the God I love.
This is the God I worship.
A God who runs. . .to us.