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.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Casually Discarded Extravagance

When we say that God is faithful, we are saying one of the deeply true things of this world. The next time we think of this or speak these words, we need to linger over the words and let them sink into our hearts as certain, healing balm. God honors His promises – without fail. God honors His Word – always. Today I read:

Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass. [Joshua 21:45]

It is from His faithfulness that I awoke today. And it is from His faithfulness that I run. Our lives are lived and our goals are pursued based in His faithfulness. There is hope.

I went out yesterday to run in Parque Ibirapuera in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It was a sunny, beautiful Sunday. I began from my hotel just before 11am. After less than a mile of sidewalks I moved into the park. The temperature was 80.6F (27C) and it was loving the day. Lately I’ve been fighting a cold and fatigue, so I was curious to see how far I was good for. After a few circuits I had rolled over 8 and figured by the time I made the return I would have logged 9 miles. OK, time to go back. This was a good decision. By the time I got back, I was totally flat-lined. Later from my Garmin I saw that over my 9 mile run I had ascended 2590 feet and descended 2196 in 1 hour 54 minutes. Taking into account a little slope here and there, running in the park is pretty flat. So I concluded that the up and down of my run occurred on my coming and going. This makes sense. From the hotel there is a little climbing and a whole lot of going downhill – kind of breezy, really. By contrast, getting back to the hotel is a little going down and a whole bunch of going uphill – not breezy, not at all, only focus and determination. I’m guessing that most of 2000 feet of climbing occurred in the final mile or less.

On my run I was making an observation. As I would loop along through the trails and pathways, I’d pass many flowering shrubs and trees. This is not uncommon in this part of the world. With each shrub or tree in flower there were a plethora of fallen blossoms on the ground around the base of the plants. Without number they lay there, some still pulsing color even though trodden under foot by countless passersby. They seemed to me like a casually discarded extravagance from the One who has created them. Of course, as with all things in this world, there is nothing “casually discarded” with the Lord. Everything is purposed to His glory and praise. As I thought about this, they reminded me of giving flowers to my wife. There is a cost. And in this cost is the expression of an extravagance. Love makes me want to be extravagant. Sure the flowers will fade and wilt. But the expression of my love is expressed through this extravagance. I think God is like this. He shows His extravagant love for us in many, many ways. Sometimes He discards a thousand, thousand colorful blossoms on the trails in Sao Paulo. And at another time He gave something of infinite, infinite value - His only Son. I love His extravagance, and I love His faithfulness as I run hard and run true. Did you see the scattered flowers, His casually discarded extravagance, back on the trail? Look again. God is raining down His glory just for you.

1 comment:

Abbey von Gohren said...

Thanks for this encouragement to run back and thank the one who healed me. He is faithful indeed!