"Th' reg'ment lost over half th' men yesterday," remarked the friend eventually. "I thought 'a course they was all dead, but, laws, they kep' a-comin' back last night until it seems, after all, we didn't lose but a few. They'd been scattered all over, wanderin' around in th' woods, fightin' with other reg'ments, an' everything. Jest like you done."
"So?" said the youth.
Jest like you done.
I'm a deserter. I'm a runner. You open that gate and I take off. You pull the lid off of the jar and I've flown.
In the Red Badge of Courage, the youth was fleeing from battle. But I don't flee from battles, for I have no battles. There is no smoke and gunfire and burning, acrid air-- no comrades and brothers falling beside me and behind me, no danger.
No-- I run, but not from battle.
I run from safety.
I run from God.
I flee from the sun and the light and I hurl myself into the shadows, run back to the comfort of the icy chains, slip the shackles over my head, back into place, and curl into the damp corners of oppression, fear, and hiding. I welcome them back into my life. I embrace the darkness, I lay with my lies. I welcome them.
And when God comes back to draw me out, to pull me up, to chase the old lovers away, I don't want him to. Because I see what a mess I am and I think that if I were to run away, He would be better off, because He deserves better-- He deserves perfection, and I am so
but He knows that
and He sees that
and He died for that
because He loves me
And He chases me because He saw me and chose me and He worked to the death so that He could have me, and He finds me in that mire of deceit and brothel of self-absorption and He draws me out and washes me clean and clothes me in garments of beauty and says,
and He knows I'll leave Him again tonight
But He doesn't stop chasing me.
because He thinks I'm worth it
and that I was made for so much more than
all of this
And Jesus has looked me in the eyes and said I want you, Christina
and I wept
because I know who I am!
And He looked me in the eyes
because He knows it too.
"Therefore, behold, I will hedge up your way with thorns, and wall her in, so that she cannot find her paths.
She will chase her lovers, but not overtake them; yes, she will seek them, but not find them. Then she will say, 'I will go and return to my first husband, for then it was better for me than now.'
I will punish her for the days of the Baals to which she burned incense. She decked herself with her earrings and jewelry, and went after her lovers; but Me she forgot," says the LORD.
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her, will bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfort to her . . . She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth. . .
"And it shall be, in that day," says the LORD, " you will call Me 'my Husband,' and no longer call Me 'my Master,' for I will take from her mouth the names of the Baals, and they shall be remembered by their name no more.
"I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the LORD."
~Hosea 2:6-7, 13-17, 19-20