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.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The 10K Run and Long-Haul Truckers

It was late morning yesterday about 11:20am in Buenos Aires, and I was determined to go for a run. I had made my way through some administrative junk for work and now my schedule was wide open. I thought to make it an easy 10K (6.2 mile) run. A casual pace in a beautiful city seemed like a nice way to get back my running legs. I had been traveling hard and not running for over a week, and was not interested in developing another over-use injury. I wanted to run, not think about running. I pulled my gear together, stepped out from my hotel, and off I went along the narrow street of Moreno down the hill toward the Atlantic Ocean. I knew generally where I was going. I thought I’d head for the Puerto Madero, a large revitalized walking plaza along the old shipping docks where I had run on previous trips. And from there perhaps identify where I might go in the next several days for longer runs. After some dashing and careful stepping along the sidewalks and numerous small intersections, I was near the docks in less than a mile, and began to enjoy the atmosphere of the day. I had an idea how my run would go today, and this was beginning just as I planned. I could feel the excitement and could feel my legs and body adapting nicely to the pace. This would be a good run.

When I asked my students about places to run, they suggested either the Parque Palermo (“like Central Park”, they said) or the Parque Natural Y Reserva Ecologica Costanera (“you are staying right down there by the reserve… you should run there”). I found an entrance for the Reserva Ecologica, but it looked like a service entrance. Then I noticed a broad plaza running along a natural marshy area, so I followed it hoping things would make sense. After some distance I found the main entrance to the reserve, but it was nearly time for me to head back to the hotel. I took note of visual references so that I could come back in a day or so for a long run. Shortly after heading back I discovered a grassy boulevard with a single track that obviously was a runners trail. I saw a runner just getting out of his car and heading over, and I passed a few other runners. It seemed that this grassy section was paralleling the original plaza that I had run along. Nice. This dirt path was kinder to my legs than the hard tiles of the plaza, and I decided to follow this as far as I could until I needed to turn and head back up the hill.

The trails that God maps for us are not usually what we have mapped for ourselves. I was gleefully dashing along my grassy boulevard when suddenly I found myself in a sea of long-haul trucks and truckers. It seems that I had wandered into an area where they queue up and park waiting their turn to be filled or emptied. The truckers looked at me curiously. They seemed nice enough, but I was definitely in the wrong place. Well, I just kept plodding along and shifted my enthusiastic pace to the “this is going to take a while” pace. And I kept looking for where I had missed my turn. After about 4 miles of running, I found my mistake. Thankfully, at that point, I headed in the clear, unequivocal direction of my hotel up the hill. Surprisingly, the final quarter mile or so I was blessed with a rush of energy and was able to finish very strong – and without injury. My planned 10K had expanded to an almost 17K (10.46 mile) and had taken me 2:03 hours. This trail had 2362 ascending and 2071 descending, which was mostly the hill to and from the water.

We all have our plans, and we should. God expects us to plan, to count the cost, to use our abilities to make wise decisions. But in the end, He decides. In the end, He remains our Sovereign Lord, and we would have it no other way. We serve Him in our wholeness, in the completeness of our being we apply our minds and hearts to serve Him. But He orders our steps. David said, "The steps of a man are established by the Lord, when he delights in his way..." [Psalm 37:23] So, it looks like we have a role in this – to delight in His way! I need to remember this the next time I find myself lost in a sea of long-haul truckers, or some other unexpected twist in my trails. I need to remember His faithfulness to me, not focus on my circumstance, and delight in Him and His way.

“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” [1 John 4:9-11 ESV]

God has our trails in His hands. Our job is to run. Friend, we are running His trails. I want to be found in Him. Run with me today. Run hard and run true, and not be satisfied with lesser things. Let us seek the far country and the love of God. His trails are sure and His ways are perfect. He is altogether our delight. So now, again, run hard and true.


Abbey von Gohren said...

"The trails that God maps for us are not usually what we have mapped for ourselves." So true! I don't know how many times I've found myself on the odd side of a park, just because I'm a runner or biker and we don't tend to take the broad path but the narrow one.

Mel Arroz said...

The days are warm & sunny here in the Treasure Valley.

The foothills have lots of trails, but too hot to be out & about at the moment. Glad to see you adding to your "trail".

In Joshua 15 there is a good lesson to be learned about "holy ground". Faith & Obedience to His leading & plans for us will always be fruitful.