Earlier today, I was running. I like to run as/after the sun goes down, because I don’t know about you, but I prefer to remain in my solid state; and the Texas sun is unrelenting in the summer. This “dark hours” exercise normally results in me running like a crazy person – whether I’m constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure a car isn’t going to run over me or leaping over attacking opossums or bailing out of the way of a silent bicycle.
I’m trying to lose some weight and get back in shape in preparation for my Africa ministry after winter and spring injuries sidelined me. To do this, I try to run 2-3 miles at least 2 or 3 times a week. I make a point, though, that no matter how far I run or where my path takes me, I always end my run at the top of a tall hill in my neighborhood.
This is not only good for my exercise as it means that the final leg of my run is uphill (and a relatively steep one at that), but it is also a wonderful place to end a run, no matter what time of day it is. This hill has a small concrete parking lot at the top of it overlooking an abandoned football practice field. In the middle ground lies a bunch of trees and some wetlands – brown and green during the day and various shades of black at night. Beyond that lie miles and miles of city and highway stretching far toward the western horizon.
From here I can stargaze, I can watch planes shortly after they take off from Love Field Airport, or I can simply gaze out as far as I’d like toward the blinking city lights in the distance. In any case, all I can do is wonder at the beauty of God’s creation. It really is magnificent.
As I approached the top of this hill today, I had my pump-up song blaring in my ears from my iPod, causing the adrenaline concentration in my blood to increase, making me run faster and harder toward the top of this wonderfully steep hill. As I reached the top, I pumped my fists into the air and pointed to God giving Him thanks and looking like a crazy person.
After cooling down, I walked to the edge of the concrete and looked out toward the east – that beautiful eastern view. I loved it. But then I felt God say, “Turn around.” So I did a 180-degree turn.
Now instead of facing a glorious expanse of wonderfulness, I was facing west toward a line of houses. These houses are nothing special – just your ordinary, run-of-the-mill, one-story, brick houses all lined up in a row and looking irritatingly similar. There is nothing special about them, and they probably have no one special occupying them. The only thing interesting about these houses was that they block my view of the beautiful sunrise to the east. Basically, I was just staring at a monotonous line of houses with extra-ordinary people living inside of them.
And then God said, “This is what I find beautiful. This is what I love.”
I see what you did there, God. 😛
(Jesus speaking) “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
– Matthew 10:29-31