When I was running from God I specifically remember hearing his voice telling me to pick up my bible, read his word, and I would return to my husband. I also, very clearly, remember telling him “No”. I stubbornly didn’t want to return to my marriage, my husband, my home town, my Christian ‘good girl’ ways…So I closed my heart to God and turned my back to him in order to pursue a life that I was sure would make me happy.
Did you know that turning from God, hardening your heart against him, is a sin? I mean, yeah, it’s obviously not a good idea…but a SIN? Exodus 9 verse 27 and 34 both explain that hardening your heart against God, like Pharaoh did, is a sin.
Sinning against God like this was a continual choice I made while I was running. Even though, like Pharaoh, I saw obvious signs that God was calling me to obedience, I denied them and angrily chased after a worldly lifestyle. There was a voice in my head that kept reminding me that I would eventually follow God again. A voice that, annoyingly enough, told me I would move back to my home town. And my heart of hearts knew that I wouldn’t be happy until I returned to my husband, marriage and my God. But I kept doing what ‘made sense’ to me at the time.
Pharaoh was only doing what made sense to him at the time. Not that this excuses his disobedience, but let’s put ourselves in his shoes for a second. He was a powerful king over not only his people, but the Israelites, and this invisible God was asking him to release them. This made no sense to him. Why would he release an entire nation of people?
It didn’t make sense for me to deny what the world was saying about happiness. Happiness is up to you! You make your destiny, you have to take care of Number One, your success is dependent on you, you. are. it., it’s your life, chase after your dreams, become who you want to be, don’t let anyone stop you. It didn’t make any sense for me to remain in a marriage that was uncomfortable, where I was depressed, where I was trapped. Running after a good job, a fun social life, a cute condo, and having guys in my life that appreciated me was what would make me happy! There was no way that being happy equaled giving all of this up for a God that I couldn’t see and a God that was asking me to be somewhere where I was uncomfortable.
So I did that. I achieved those things, I got the best paying job I’d ever had, I had a great social life partying and rubbing shoulders with CEO’s and Oil and Gas big-wigs. I had a super cute condo, I went to yoga often, worked out and was fit, had guys left right and center. But at the end of the night, I was alone in bed, crying because a piece of my heart was still missing…and I was confused.
All of these things were supposed to make me happy, but why did I feel so empty?? Why was something just…missing??
So instead of sinning the next time God spoke to me, I listened. He told me to pick up my bible, so I picked it up. With conditions, of course, but I picked it up. And what happened next amazed me, blew me away…I touched that bible, that’s literally all it took, and suddenly I was a dry, parched sponge and God was the water that quenched my thirst. Everything that I had been running from, I realized very quickly, was exactly what I was aching to find. The happiness that I was searching for wasn’t in anything I expected, it really was in this invisible God. It wasn’t in the things that I could see or touch or in things that made sense like men or money, the happiness I wanted, the piece of my heart that was missing, was God.
I wonder what would have happened if Pharaoh would have listened to God the first time, if he would have taking that leap of faith instead of hardening his heart? His decision affected everyone around him, just like mine did. If he had just said “Yes” to God, I wonder what blessing the nation of Egypt would have received instead of the plagues…