The "Runaway Bunny" Psalm

The Psalmist and a children’s book writer had it right: No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape God’s love.

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Posted in , Feb 7, 2012

Prayer blogger Rick Hamlin

Recently I’d been struggling with the idea that God loves us, all of us, including me. I’ve heard it a million times, even said it myself, but it’s such a huge concept it boggles the mind. Sometimes I can’t get my head around it.

The other day I was rummaging through the boys’ old children’s books. There on the shelf was that classic The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown.

Remember the story? The bunny tells his mother he wants to run away and imagines all the different ways he can do it. But for every strategy, whether by sea, land or air, she has an answer. “I will become a fisherman and I will fish for you,” she says. “I will be a mountain climber and I will climb to where you are...I will be a tree that you come home to.” No matter where he goes, his mother will be there.

I could recall reading the book to the boys before bedtime, repeating those words as I turned each page, two kids in pajamas by my side. The message was clear. My sons weren’t going to outrun my love, no matter how far their adventures took them. Wasn’t that just like God’s love?

Lingering over the pictures now, I turned the well-thumbed pages, thinking of the psalms. As many others have pointed out, the language of The Runaway Bunny is a lot like Psalm 139: “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Whither shall I flee from thy presence? ... If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there thy hand shall lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”

The Psalmist and a children’s book writer had it right. I could exclaim along with the Psalmist and say, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me. It is too high. I cannot attain unto it” (I do believe that putting doubts into a prayer is good spiritual practice). Then I could put myself in bunny mode, and recall the childlike faith of my listeners in their PJs.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t escape God’s love.

Or “have a carrot,” as the mother rabbit says at the end.

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