Back in high school, there was a certain rite of passage that kids in my neck of the woods seemed to cherish. They would have loud, obnoxious, alcohol-fueled parties, and then they would run into the nearby cornfields to hide when the cops showed up to bust the party.
Now, maybe you were a good church girl and never went to parties like this. I’ll just stay mum about what I was up to in these years. Don’t get me wrong: we were completely self-aware that this was the most redneck way to spend a Friday night, but it was one of those things us country kids did for entertainment. (Even more fun, in my opinion, was spreading the word about a giant bash, making sure the cops knew about it, and then having only several kegs of root beer on site. I love root beer.)
So when was the last time you ran?
This fall, as the corn sat out in the fields near our home, waiting to be harvested, something happened that caused some flashbacks.
My husband and I had just decided to have some fresh sweet corn for supper. Our gracious neighbor grows a field of it and gives us as much as we want. Since the neighbor only lives a mile down our country road, we did what any good redneck parents do: bypassed the carseats and threw all four of our preschoolers into the pickup truck. (In the CAB, moms! I’m not bad enough to throw them in the truck bed! Not yet.) We sauntered down to the neighbor’s, radio blaring and all of us singing to the old country song at the top of our lungs.
After filling up the passenger floor with a couple dozen ears of freshly-picked corn, we headed back home. At the intersection just before our house, my hubby suddenly switched off the radio and barked at the kids to sit down. He veered off to our left, passing “Road Construction” barriers and pulling over into the ditch.
“What on earth are you doing?!” I demanded. He hushed me and cocked his head a couple of times behind us.
Then I finally saw it: a police car! Someone must have seen us with a truckfull of wild children and called us in!
Now, my hubby is about the most straight-and-narrow man you’ll ever meet. He respects God, law, and authority. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that look flash across his face before, but suddenly our big dually truck was in motion!
The cop had pursued us, and we had taken off, right through the cornfield!
We tore around the field, the kids laughing and cheering us on, unaware of the pursuit behind us. My heart was pounding and I was reminded of those careless, crazy days of youth.
Eventually we pulled into our own back acreage and snuck the truck into a hiding spot. As we sat on our porch and shucked the corn, the adrenaline wore off a little and I began to think about running. I have run before in my life. I have run so far that I felt God’s Spirit say to me, “YOU are Jonah!” What a terrible mess we can find ourselves in when we run from God’s pursuit of us. Jonah got on the boat and thought he had it made. That is, until the storm came up.
Running might be the easy way out of situation, but it’s rarely the way out that God calls us to.
Luckily, we found out later that the cop at the intersection was simply trying to catch people driving in the construction zone. He had recognized our truck and knew we belonged there and he had no intentions of going any further. The corn on the cob tasted extra sweet that night.