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In simpler times, Beaver Cleaver packing a hobo's handkerchief with
provisions and sneaking out the front door to run away was an innocent
plot line. We knew the ending from the very beginning. Beaver would eventually
come home to enjoy a glass of cold milk and warm cookies. Today, the endings
are not usually so happy. A "runaway" is likely to be raped, conned and
exploited. Why do children run?
According to the National Runaway Switchboard (1-800-621-4000), the
number one reason children run has to do with family dynamics. Some families
are not Norman Rockwell paintings; they are filled with drugs, alcohol,
physical, sexual or emotional abuse.
Harriet Tubman knew the pain of physical abuse. When she was 13, her
skull was cracked open while defending a fellow slave from their master's
tyranny. She ran, but she came back. She returned to help transport other
slaves to freedom.
Because of her passion for freedom, Tubman helped over 300 slaves find
freedom, including her own parents. Sometimes running is the best thing
a person can do.
Other times, running is the worse thing a person can do. Some runners
aren't trying to escape tyranny, they just can't handle authority.
Some people remain where they are physically, but not emotionally; through
resentment, anger and rebellion they insulate themselves from any meaningful
contact with God-they run.
With their actions and attitudes they give God the "silent treatment"
and in essence, they say, "I want nothing to do with you, God." They rebel
against His authority.
But with divine patience, God stands like the prodigal's father, ready
for the runaway child to come home.
And sometimes, there are happy endings.