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.
Thursday, December 31, 2009
Bridge from Despair to Hope
"But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head." [Psalm 3:3]
I cling, as I do each morning of my life, to the Lord Jesus. We cross this bridge together – He and I - from despair to hope in twinkling of the eye; in a moment of the heart; as the day dawns. I reach for Him and His deep, firm comforts, and the haunting shadows slip away. The world looses its hold on me. The light increases, the day breaks, the sun rises - a fresh, new morning. The Lord has made all things new. It will be a good day.
Today I feel my sore muscles from the 10K winter run yesterday. It took me 1:31 hours to cover 6.2 miles. Several days before, my daughter Abbey was looking for a run, so we laid down a bit over 5K in the afternoon in about 39 minutes. Over these most holy days my running has been irregular, so I expect to feel the soreness and impact of almost any run. But I was determined to run early yesterday morning. The night before, I set out my things so that I could push out the door as soon as I woke. The challenge was simply to leap over that first hurdle, to break through that initial resistance, and get to the thing at hand. And so I found myself on the edge of Purgatory Park at 6:30am yesterday morning. It was dark, but just so. I decided against the headlamp in this earliest dim light of darkness, and pushed off to the left, clockwise, up the slope along the plowed trail that surrounds the park. This is a circuit of 1.23 miles, undulating hills and gentle slopes with numerous pleasant perspectives - when you can see them. I was enjoying the early morning brace of raw cold and the bite in the occasion breeze, my feet crunching along the ice and snow, a rhythm in footfalls, almost quiet, and so peaceful – yes, restful almost. Here a person can sort things out, can pray and worship and wait on the counsel of the Lord in the breathtaking silence of early morning. Words are few, thoughts are heaven bound, and my feet trace a trail along the snowy ways. I take the gentle inclines as they come, and once each circuit (I will make five circuits plus a little), I climb steeply to the park’s summit, off-road on a single foot trail, carved by those of us who simply cannot resist the glorious pleasure of this view from highest spot above the park. With each climb to the summit I pause amazed, and gaze out across the breathtaking vista. A fairly small park - but so beautiful. It is rich with God’s fingerprints. This park may be one of His smaller canvases as far as landscapes, but His work is masterful and divine; glory-laden wonders laid out plain for us. You don’t need to be a theologian to see His sign here. It is plain.
"Not to us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name give glory,
for the sake of your steadfast love and your faithfulness!" [Psalm 115:1]
The light is coming. How could you ever miss God here? It seems impossible. And then I resume the run, the rhythm along the snowy path in the ever-increasing light of the morning. The rhythm, the cadence of life that has come to expect God’s wonder in a thousand twists and surprises; the ever-turning, cycling seasons; the crazy madcap wonder in a child’s joy and delight; the sun and rain, the blazing glory of the rising sun each day as God whispers His common grace across the morning. I resume my run into His wonder, into His grace. I run because of Him.
Sometimes when I look back over my shoulder I catch a glimpse of despair approaching. I feel the weight and troubles, the darkness of the world and the weariness, hope seems to hang lifeless there. And the darkness begins to close in on me. Then He comes - bold, light of dawn, breaking across the horizon.
"And he who was seated on the throne said, 'Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.'” [Revelation 21:5]
The Lord comes as I have been taught by every sunrise that I have ever seen. He comes in glory and wonder, and He comes in His faithfulness and hope. He comes as I place my hope and trust in Him. No, the troubles will not vanish, but he will give me the strength to run, to love, to forgive. He will lift me as I reach out to Him. He will comfort me as I listen to Him. His words are true and simple. I hear my footsteps crunching on the snowy trail. I feel the rhythm in my steps that He has taught me over the many miles together. His grace abounds and it only remains for me to accept His love in this dark, harsh world. I feel the cold, but even the bite of winter reminds me of His constant provision and grace. Oh, may we run! May we feel His kindness with each step along the trail. Let’s run hard and true! Oh, may we run hard and true for Him. Come with me today, my friend. Life’s trails lay out before us, and they are unknown to us. How shall we run and for whom?