Run for Your Life!

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ”Get up” he said, “take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.” (Matthew 2:13)


 “One thing people have got to learn,” said the woman, “is you can’t run away from your problems. If you try, they’ll just follow you. You have to stay and face them, that’s what I do.”  These were the words of a severe and cheerless woman, searching the row of “self-help” books on a shelf at the Oak Street Bible Shop.


Glen paid no attention, but edged away as she stepped towards his prophecy corner. He was trying to keep out of her way. She was clearly agitated, because, as she had been telling Joy, her son in law was moving and taking her daughter to the state of Wyoming to get a job on the railroad, hauling coal.


“It’s awful,” she said, “I’ll never see my grandchildren any more. Just because his job was given to someone in Indonesia. He says, ‘They can’t outsource coal, or the railroads.’ I told him he should stay and face his problems. Running away won’t do him a bit of good. It never does!”


It was at times like these that Joy showed patience, born of long experience. “Never argue with a customer”, she had learned. Besides, that’s what Glen was for. Gary said nothing, following Joy’s example.


“I don’t see anything that I can use,” said the woman. “I want something I can give my daughter to read. Maybe she can talk some sense into him. He won’t listen to me! Just run, run, run! Seems like that’s all anybody does anymore.”


“We don’t carry many books in that category,” explained Joy, patiently. We mostly have Bible-related books.”


“Well, the Bible sure doesn’t tell people to run, does it? Think where we’d  all be if Moses had tried to run away from his problems.”


Sue was in the back room filling the coffee urn. She tried to smother a laugh at this last remark, pretending to cough.


The woman turned to look at her, then put back a book entitled Handling Emotional Problems. “I see I’m not going to do any good here, guess I’ll go down town and see what they have in one of the regular book stores.” With that, she closed the door behind her.


“Whatcha doin’ Sue?” asked Joy, in a relaxed tone of voice


 “Well, for one thing,” she replied “I was trying not to laugh out loud at that goofy woman! Can you believe it!  ‘Good thing Moses didn’t try to run away.’ Hasn’t she ever heard of the exodus?”


 “She was a good one all right,” said Joy. “Maybe she’ll have better luck in a downtown store.”


 “Like the Best of Ladies’ Home Journal,” said Gary. “They‘re good with mottoes and stuff like that”.


Joy looked over at Glen, still silent, and seemingly preoccupied. “You’re awfully quiet this morning, Glen. I can’t believe you didn’t say something to that woman.”


 “I was just thinking of all the Bible examples of people running away. Good examples, I mean. Goes from Genesis to Revelation. Jesus ran away. Can’t think of a better example than that.”


 “You mean when Joseph and Mary took him to Egypt?” said Sue. She replaced the cover on the coffee urn.


 “Oh, sure,” said Glen, “But I was thinking of when they tried to push him off the cliff in the Gospel of Luke.”


Gary leafed through Luke and read: “And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And they rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.”


 When they couldn’t stand up to what he was saying, they tried to kill him,” Joy said.


“But he passing through the midst of them went his way. Luke 4:28-30


 “You don’t see this listed as one of the miracles of Jesus,” said Joy, “But it had to be. Jesus didn’t run away from them, he passed through them.”


 “He escaped,” said Glen. “the Bible has so many examples of people escaping, it’s hard to think of them all, isn’t it?”


“What’s that interesting aroma, Sue? asked Joy, turning to look into the back room.


“It’s my treat” Sue said, “It’s French coffee. I hope you like it. It has chicory in it.”


“French?” said Joy. “Since when? Getting kind of fancy aren’t we? You’re not French are you, Sue?”


 “On my mother’s side,” said Sue. “She was a descendant of the Huguenots who came over here. A lot of them settled in New York. Her family was from  Virginia.”


 “Well, I’ll be,” said Joy, “the things we don’t know about you, Sue.”


 “Speaking of running away,” said Gary, “from what I know about the Huguenots they did a lot of running didn’t they?”


 “Had to,” said Sue, “It’s part of my family history.”


 Glen had been listening with great interest. “A lot of them were murdered,” said Glen. “In the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre of 1572, thousands were killed. The killing went on until over 100,000 died. So many corpses were in the rivers that people wouldn’t eat fish  for a long time. All because the Huguenots rebelled against the official church’s teaching. Bells were rung and it was a signal for the slaughter to begin. These people later merged with Presbyterians and some became Reform Baptists. They fled to Holland, South Africa, and, early on, to America. They have never forgotten their heritage. Fleeing to avoid death and persecution is as old as the Bible,” said Glen. “Think of the examples in the Word of God.”


 Lot and his family running from Sodom,”, said Gary.


 “Abram was told to leave his father’s house and country,” said Joy.


 “Elijah ran from Jezebel,” said Gary.


“And God fed him in the wilderness,” said Sue. “He must have approved because he took care of him out there.”


 “Jesus warned there would be a time when His people must run for their lives,” said Joy. “In the Olivet  prophecy.”


 “Matthew 24," said Gary. “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth let him understand:)Then let them which be in Judea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house:

Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. Matthew 24:15-18.”


Did you ever hear such urgency?” said Sue. “Jesus is telling them how quickly things will happen. Don’t even go back to take your clothes! But will  people have to run? I mean, what is the abomination of desolation that Jesus is talking about?”


 Glen put on his reading glasses and removed his pocket Bible. He turned to 2 Thessalonians 2:4. “Here it is, Sue. Paul explains that this is the beginning of the great tribulation, when Antichrist enters the temple and declares that he is God. Who opposeth and exalteth  himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped: so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 2 Thessalonians 2:4. Paul himself had to flee,” said Glen. “This is another example where those who can’t stand up to the truth try to kill the truth teller. I believe it is Acts chapter nine, Gary.”


“But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is the very Christ. And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him. But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him. Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down the wall in a basket. Acts 9:22-25.”One day Paul was chasing Christians, then he was escaping from the Jews,” said Gary.


 “Will the church have to run, I mean all of us?” asked Sue.


Glen smiled as he said, “We have the wonderful promise that we will be delivered from the time, not just the events, that is coming upon everyone on the earth. In Revelation 3:10 Jesus says, ‘Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.’


The French coffee was ready and Sue brought everyone a little cup. “You know,” she said, “sometimes I have these awful dreams where everyone is running, trying to escape. I wonder if part of me remembers about the Huguenots and what happened to them?”