The running embrace

embrace-runningWhen I was a boy I watched a Billy Graham crusade on television. During the invitation, I accepted Jesus as my savior. It was the beginning of what has been quite a journey — the detours, bumps, and potholes have been unanimously my fault, but God has been there every step of the way. The song the Rev. Graham used during his invitation was Just as I am. Those lyrics are special to me.

Just as I am without one plea but that
Thy blood was shed for me
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee
Oh lamb of God I come I come

I’ve thought a lot about the last phrase, “I come.” I’ve witnessed how God will use our small steps toward him in mighty ways. However, one lie we often believe (which inevitably delays our rescue) is that we must do something, we must clean ourselves up, we must eliminate (or at least minimize) our dysfunction before we can approach God.

Here is good news which sounds like bad news: You cannot get right enough to come to God.

The truth is that God comes to you. Jesus demonstrated God’s pursuit of us in the parable of the prodigal (lost) son. In the pivotal scene, Jesus teaches:

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20b)

The underlying good news is that it’s not up to you. It is not your strength or willpower or good behavior. It is grace, your forgiveness through Jesus’ sacrifice, that saves you.

So go. Go to God. He’s already seen your mess and is running to embrace you!

About Tony Schmitz

Tony Schmitz received his BS in Mechanical Engineering from Temple University in 1993, his MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1996, and his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Florida in 1999. He is a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
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