Ways of Escape – Part 3
Psalms 55:6-7 “I said, ‘Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest – I would flee far away and stay in the desert.’”
When we run across something that is unpleasant like suffering, or a broken relationship, etc. – the human response is to run away. I wonder if this is what the Psalmist meant when he said that he wished he had wings of a bird that he might fly away.
However, this is what we have the tendency to do: to run away. We need to recognize this and deal with it RIGHTLY. I would like to mention some of the ways that we try to “fly away.”
1. Brooding. When there is something unpleasant, one of the ways that we try to escape is what we call the silent treatment. Sometimes this is what we have with our wives. Perhaps what is needed is not the silent treatment, but an honest confrontation, getting things out in the open so that they might be dealt with. However, brooding is one way of escapism.
2. Excuses. What often happens with excuses is that we try to rationalize doing what we know we should not do. Jeremiah tells us that the heart is deceitful, and self-deceiving at that. Jeremiah 17:9 “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?”
3. Running away. This is total avoidance, the actual physical moving to another location. This is what we see with Jonah. He was running away from doing what the Lord wanted. Often the Lord wants confrontation, openness, etc. in the relationships, but we play the Jonah game.
4. Busyness. We try to keep our mind off the real problem, or issue, by doing other things. A person like this is often a workaholic. This doesn’t mean that every workaholic is running away, but this might be the case.
5. Extra-curricular activities. Hobbies, entertainment, etc. can sometimes be a way of escape from unpleasantness.
6. Tiredness. Often you hear this being said. “I’m too tired to deal with it!” Yes, but sleep, rest and food should take care of tiredness unless it comes from relationships that are not right spiritually as well as physically. This can wear us out!
7. Alcohol and drugs are often another way of trying to escape from something unpleasant. Rather than facing it they turn to something that seems to temporarily help alleviate the pain. It can, but it will enslave us as well.
8. Bodily torture. We do not think of this as a way of escape, but it can be. We put our body through some type of strong discipline or torture to make up for a conscience that is bothering us.
9. Charity work. Doing something good such as giving money or support to an organization in order to ease the conscience. Doing good things for other people instead of doing what needs to be done in the relationship. 1 Corinthians 13:3 “If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.”
10. Unreality/Fantasizing. I had mentioned before that so often mental illness is simply one that has escaped into unreality. If it is too hard to face reality, we try to escape into an unreal world, or fantasy.
11. Pretending. This goes along with number 10, but I made it separate. Pretense can take a number of forms. We can pretend to be someone or something else, we can pretend the unpleasantness that we do not want to face – does not exist, or will go away on its own.
12. Suicide. The taking of one’s life. This is quite extreme, but we see this happening more than ever before especially here in the West. When people have no hope, see no way out of the situation that they are in – suicide looks right – to end it once and for all. This is the ultimate escapism.
These are some of the ways that we might try to escape anything we do not want to face or deal with, or that we don’t want to feel or go through. Rather than deal with it and confront it head on, we run from it. I am sure that you can probably add to the list other things that have not been mentioned here.
Might God help us to face the unpleasant things in life and to learn from them, because God allows these things in our life so that we might learn and become more like Him.
Hear the words of Alan Redpath: There is nothing, no circumstance, no trouble, no testing – that can EVER touch me until first of all it has gone “past” God and “past” Christ, right through to me. If it has come that far, it has come with great purpose which I may not understand at the moment. But as I refuse to panic, as I lift my eyes up to Him and accept it as having ‘come from His throne’ for some great purpose of blessing to my heart, then NO sorrow will disturb me, NO trial will ever disarm me, NO circumstance will cause me to fret. For I shall rest in the joy of what my Lord is; that is the rest of victory.