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.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The Rain was as the Tears of God

This morning I was reluctant to go running. I was much too comfortable as I lay in bed; and yet the Lord mercifully aroused me. I ate some oatmeal (oats, walnuts, raisins, cranberries, brown sugar, cinnamon), made a coffee, and was out the door. I drove to Hyland Park, arriving shortly before 8am. My run was undefined. It was raining. How many times have I begun in this way? How many times have I simply pushed beyond the immediate resistance and made my way to the trail? This is so vital to my heart. I need to apprehend afresh how weak and vulnerable I am. I need to push beyond it until I understand that it is God who gives me the strength and will to run. It is God who fills me with the desire to live and love beyond my limits. It is God who opens His wonders to me along every trail and avenue that I have ever traveled. Here am I – ever so reluctant to be blessed by God Himself. Here am I running in the rain.

As we run our trails, we frequently must push beyond our natural limitations. It is only in the vast expanse of the unknown where we learn to listen and cling most dearly to our Lord. Today I ran a little over 8 miles in just over 2 hours, climbing 2352 feet and descending about the same. Often the trails are new to us, untried. Sometimes the trails are numbingly familiar. But we run them all the same. Since returning from Shenzhen, China I've covered about 80 miles running familiar routes – Purgatory, Hyland, Birch Island, and others. Usually, I'd select my distance to coincide with those times when I felt weakest, or a time of day that would be the hottest and most difficult. It is good for me to push myself beyond my natural boundaries; to discover anew that I am not alone. There is another with me on the trail. I am sustained by Him. We share the joys and sorrows of the way. In times of plenty, there is rejoicing. In times of want, there is quiet reliance and trust. It is the Lord along the trail who faithfully teaches me. I need Him with every step.

Of late, I have been listening to A Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan, read by a dear English woman. Sometimes I can hear her turn the pages. I like that. In the past year or two, I've listened to this recording three times, and each time I am overwhelmed by the true nature of John Bunyan's allegory. I have read the book in times past, but there is something about listening as I run. It is always so striking to me, so applicable. My trails in many ways are like the travels of Christian and his wife and children.

For he was looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose designer and builder is God. [Hebrews 11:10 ESV]

...Looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. [Hebrews 12:2 ESV]

We are each sojourning. Are we seeking the Celestial City - the dwelling of the Lord, or something far less, something shallow and dead? Each time I listen, my soul is challenged to remain fixed upon my heart's passion, to remain true to my deepest desires to love God above all.

Today the rain was as the tears of God. Sometimes, I thought His tears to be tears of joy over the multitudes redeemed to Himself, to live forever with the Lord as their light, to behold Him and find their deepest joy and satisfaction in Him, to be forever with the Lord. At other times, I thought His tears to be tears of great sorrow over the multitudes lost, forever separated from His everlasting joy and happiness, forever apart from the Lord. And then I would weep. As I ran, as the rain streaked my face and clothing, I wept. Sometimes the joy overwhelmed me. At other times, the sorrow would almost crush me wholly. And through it all, there was my ever companion, Jesus the Righteous; my Sovereign, my Lord.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man's heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. [Ecclesiastes 3:11 ESV]

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul. [Deuteronomy 4:29 ESV]

Let us run the trails that are before us. If we seek Him, we will find Him. Although the breadth of eternity is God's alone, He mercifully reveals Himself to us. He is the treasure of immeasurable worth, the pearl of great price. Oh Friend, may I weep tears of joy for you, and not tears of sorrow. Let us run hard and true.