My friend Linda and I met years ago at a Cracker Barrel for fellowship and to discuss the correspondence outreach which she led at the time. After enjoying our meal, we went outside to pray for Victorious Living’s incarcerated family members.

We sat there in the rocking chairs and prayed with our eyes open so we wouldn’t attract attention. As we prayed, I noticed a man going in and out of the restaurant. He kept walking past us. I realized I’d seen him twice in the restaurant too.

Since God often uses repetitive scenes and phrases to catch my attention, I inwardly asked Him if there was something He wanted me to do. I felt God leading me to speak with the man. The next time he passed by, I introduced myself and engaged him in conversation. I was relieved when he responded in a welcoming manner. His name was Ryan.

I told him that I’d felt God wanting me to remind him that He loved him. I knew it was a God-ordained meeting when Ryan shook his head and said with a bit of laughter in his voice, “I don’t know why, but God just won’t leave me alone.”

I knew why—because God so loves Ryan (John 3:16). God’s extravagant love will go to any length to bring a lost son or daughter home. This time, God’s love had chased Ryan down using two ladies in rocking chairs (Romans 2:4).

Over the next few minutes, Ryan shared intimate life details, and then he said something I’ve heard many times from many people. “I’ve never felt like I belonged anywhere.”

He went on to tell us how he had come to Cracker Barrel to meet up with his family, hoping that being in their presence would make him feel better and more complete. He’d been estranged from them for a while. Yet, even after a great meal and decent conversation, he still felt empty. And that emptiness had him pacing around the restaurant property.

For years, Ryan had been tormented by a sense of emptiness. He admitted to having tried to fill that void with many things, including women and weed. But everything and everyone had failed him. His love for weed had even cost him his job, as he had recently failed a drug test.

“I’ve been searching and wandering all through life. I’m so tired of being let down,” Ryan confessed. Then he added, “And I’m tired of running from God.”

I told him he didn’t have to run anymore, that he could take off those running shoes and rest in the arms of his heavenly Father. Ryan looked relieved. And then he bowed his head and prayed to the One he had been running from his whole life. When he said amen, he was beaming, as were we.

After he left, Linda and I marveled at the relentless love of God. It will chase you down anywhere! The question is, when we find ourselves face-to-face with God’s love, will we surrender to it?

Maybe, like Ryan, you don’t feel like you belong anywhere. Maybe you’ve been chasing after worldly offerings, hoping they will fill that void. The problem is, the things of this world never satisfy. Only God can bring contentment.

Right now, God is inviting you to stop running and surrender your life to His goodness. He is what you’re missing. He is where you belong! And He alone can transform your life from one of emptiness to one of fulfillment.

Pray with me. God, I’m tired of running. I surrender to Your love. Let it overtake me. I choose You over my fear, questions, unbelief, guilt, and shame; over relationships and sex, drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and _______. Take my life, Lord. Bring me home to You.


Kristi Overton Johnson encourages and equips people for victory through her writings, speaking engagements, and prison ministry. To learn more, go to