Every great movie has a chase scene. Think through your favorite film . . . can you identify some kind of pursuit? Is it a car chase on a multi-lane freeway? An around-the-globe tracking of a rogue agent? A sprint through stalled traffic to reach the church before she marries the wrong guy? It seems every good story involves someone who’s running. Why do you think chase scenes are so common? Is it just that they’re exciting? Or do they resonate with some deeper reality in the human experience?
You might summarize the Bible as the story of a good God’s loving pursuit of humanity. What is God doing in the story? God is pursuing. And what is humanity doing? We’re running. Maybe it’s fear, maybe it’s pride, maybe it’s ignorance, but it seems our tendency is to respond to God’s offer of companionship and salvation by running away.
Many of us could tell the story of when we finally stopped running from God and repented, or turned around, and started to run toward him. These are our stories of surrender. And though that major conflict is now settled for many of us, there are still days when we sense in ourselves the tendency to respond to God’s offer for closer intimacy with him by running away. Maybe you’ve recognized the tendency in yourself to respond to God’s offer for a new level of trust by pulling back . . . by running.
This is why stability is so important for us. Embracing stability is how we stop running and allow ourselves to be found.
The logic is simple: if God is here then I must not run away. I need to stay. If God is here I need to be here, too. Embracing stability is the opposite of restless wandering. It’s how I will come to know the God who is always here.
-Nathan Oates, Stability: How an ancient monastic practice can restore our relationships, churches, and communities