And the day God breathed upon your still life, stirring into being the green leaf and the flower, bud upon the branch and light
upon your soul. Here you felt the earth’s air on your petals and your leaves, and squinted into sunlight, gazing high for heaven
until you felt the gardener’s hand gently turning soil and soul, and nurturing you, bud in radiant sun.
Cascading rain absorbed in warm earth turning, heaven of fragrance. What is that sound in the wind and dazzling light?
Oh, the sweet sound of your delight in God. Sometimes it is like the sound of running laughter.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Waiting for the Morning

I hear my footfalls in the hushed predawn darkness. It is 6:10am and I’m running by the light of my headlamp; out of the neighborhood, briefly along 62, and then dropping into the woods: Birch Island Park and the rolling trails and good training hills to the east. I play out some of the paths in my mind with anticipation. I want to feel the work of this. Watching my steps in the dim light with my headlamp, occasional hardpack snow not yet melted, brushing unseen branches in the dark. It’s 42F with a southwest breeze of 7. A bit later I will see the clear skies.

We are never alone. God is always there for us. This morning I am aware of His companionship as I make my way along the pre-dawn trails. I am full of anticipation for this run, but I am also very tired. So, I focus on the mechanics. A careful step here and shift of footing there, dodge that branch and avoid the ice. Eventually my body relaxes into the run and the workout, and I begin to enjoy this time with Him. Sometimes we need to settle into our pace in order to find Him pacing right along with us.

Much of our life we spend waiting. Yesterday I had planned a run. Family activities tabled those pursuits, so I waited and shuffled the run into an early morning workout today. But waiting is not a new thing. And it is so much more than simply an interruption or delay in things – it is altogether divine. Oh, for eyes to see like Jesus. King David knew this so long ago:

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
more than watchmen for the morning,
more than watchmen for the morning.
[Psalms 130:5-6]

Well, today is no different. I seem to be waiting for things in just about every facet of my life. But this keeps my heart expectant and hopeful. Or, at least, that’s what it should do. For me, if I focus on the waiting, I grow frustrated and unhappy. But If I focus on the Him, I grasp opportunities to trust and love Him more deeply and my joy in God grows bigger. I want the joy. So, one of my prayers is to trust Him more implicitly and love Him more deeply each day – as much as I can. I don’t want to waste my time being frustrated and unhappy. It’s better to pursue life. And sometimes this means that I pursue a sunrise.

David mentions the “watchmen for the morning”. I felt like this a bit this morning. I was running along what I call the east ridge trail, an off-trail that overlooks Birch Island Park’s central trail, as the morning sky began to brighten. I knew the dawn was coming so I kept looping back along this edge in hopes of capturing the rising sun. I had my camera with me and was watching for that first moment. There were a few clouds near the horizon that kept obscuring first light. Eventually though, the sun broke through and I got a few snaps.

In all I covered 8.7 miles of forest trails and steep hill repeats for a total of 1783 feet ascending and 1747 feet descending. With all of my gawking at the sunrise and just enjoying the rich morning atmosphere, it took me about 2 ¼ hours. I watched the sunrise from a high overlook and saw the rays of new light stream across the quiet woodlands bursting rich colors and warmth: a visual gift from my Heavenly Father reminding me of His steadfast love. I will return to these woods again. Lord willing, many times. They are a simple picture of my sojourning life. Are you sojourning with Him? Are you waiting like the watchmen for the morning? Be full of anticipation and hope; be joyful. I see the sun rising just beyond the horizon. Come along, run the race with me.


Abbey von Gohren said...

I'm reading your latest two blog posts from atop a hill in the beautiful park Montsouris where I usually run. Today is an off-day for running (swimming later), but I still wanted to come to this same peaceful place with my Bible and notebook. I've discovered that for the first hour it's open (7:30-8:30), this usually-busy place is calm and quiet, which is a rare treat in my life. Thanks for the reminder about how much I love the mornings! And aboutthe steadfast love of the Lord!

Taconite Boy said...

I will be waiting on the Lord at Hyland tomorrow and reminded of this post!