Running in the Dark

running in dark I’ve taken on a new assignment at work recently. A big one. Biggest one yet (at least for me). I volunteered for it — knowing that it was going to be hard — because I felt so strongly that it needed to be done, and because it was an opportunity to dramatically improve the lives and workloads of my entire team. Problem is, I know that it is significantly beyond my personal skill set. I find myself reminding the Lord regularly that if He doesn’t sovereignly intervene and make this happen, I will almost certainly fail.

So anyways. I was out jogging before sunrise the other day. 10th street is all ripped up due to some scheduled road construction. The asphalt has been scraped off down to the dirt, so now it is just a bare path with no streetlights. As I first entered that part of the road, I could see it fairly well, despite the pre-dawn darkness. Light from the nearby neighborhood dimly illuminated the road — enough to tell that it was freshly-graded and lightly graveled. I could tell that it was flat and smooth and safe to jog on, without any ankle-wrenching ruts or holes.

However, 50 yards further on and over the hill, and suddenly I was plunged into utter blackness. I couldn’t even see my feet anymore, let alone the ground. If you have ever run on a dirt road in inky dark, you know how un-nerving it can be. You become hyper-attuned to every footfall not knowing what to expect. I could feel my heart-rate accelerate and my nerves tighten. I considered slowing my gait down to a safer walking speed, but I guess I’m kinda stubborn and I really didn’t want to change my pace.

So after a moment’s thought, I reassured myself with the logic that the crew that carved the road where I could see it, was the same crew that carved it here where I couldn’t see it. Suddenly I felt confident that the same equipment and skill that had smoothed the road so carefully at the visible end would have been used right on over the hill. And so I continued jogging with renewed confidence… and I wasn’t disappointed; the road-crew’s craftsmanship proved trustworthy indeed.

It was about then that the Lord seemed to whisper to me and say, “So. I understand you are a little worried about your assignment at work. You feel like you are in way over your head and you can’t see what’s around the corner, or even where to place your next step. Perhaps you feel like you are running in the dark?”

As soon as the words crossed my mind, I gazed up at the stars with a huge grin and said, “Thank You, Lord. I get it.” Because suddenly I knew that the same God Who had so skillfully smoothed the road to get me this far in my job, could be fully counted on all the way to the road’s end. I’m learning that faith means abandoning yourself in the dark to the One Who has proven Himself trustworthy in the light. I have seen His handiwork clearly, back on the bright part of the road; there’s no reason to slacken my pace now.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, . . . because
He. will. make. your. paths. smooth.”
         (Proverbs 3:5-6; my translation)

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Dad’s workshop

Dad's workbenchWhen I was a child, my dad had an awesome workshop out in our garage. It wasn’t huge, it wasn’t organized, it wasn’t clean or well-lit, it was just super cool. I loved exploring through the little tiny drawers filled with do-dads and whozits and what-nots from a bye-gone era. But what I loved most was when my dad was at work on one of his projects, and I got to stand at his side and just watch. Those of you who knew my dad know that he never got ruffled, never cussed when the hammer slipped, never lost his temper when the little ragamuffin got in his way. He never said much of anything, as I recall; he just worked quietly and peacefully and let the work speak for itself. I miss those days. And I enjoy trying to recreate some of those moments with my own children. Working together with a little child who can’t “really” help — but who really wants to —  that’s just one of life’s most special privileges.

That’s the picture that came to my mind this morning while I was jogging. I’ve been praying while I jog lately — for my family, for my friends, for my Sunday School 1st graders, etc. God has been challenging me to stretch myself into more meaningful and passionate intercession for the loved ones in my life, both near and far. I love to get out into the orchards or fields where I can pray out loud and gesticulate emphatically and not worry too much about any onlookers who might question my mental stability.

So as I was praying today, it occurred to me that intercession is like knocking on the door of God’s Workshop; like being invited in by a smiling Father who is genuinely pleased to have me join Him; like watching Him work at His ancient workbench, sawdust at our feet. It is like having the grand privilege of getting a little glimpse into what the Lord Himself is doing in the lives of my loved ones. But best of all, it is like working with Him, side-by-side, ragamuffin with Master Craftsman, not just observing but actually contributing my own thoughts and suggestions, and watching in awe and wonder as He actually chooses to use my meager prayers, weaving them into His own work, and in so doing, weaving more of His heart and compassion into my life as well. My prayers get incorporated into the lives of my friends and family, while God’s character gets woven more deeply into my soul. Astounding.

And the realization that He enjoys my company in His workshop as much as I enjoy Trevor in mine — well that’s just amazingly cool.

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Planting Seeds in Public Forums

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From time to time, I enjoy reading the articles on NPR.org, including the comment threads. These threads are most often dominated by very liberal-leaning pundits (as well as a few ultra-conservative wackos who unfortunately give conservatism a bad name, in my opinion). Usually I read the comments with mild amusement and without response, but sometimes I just can’t help myself. So occasionally I try to plant seeds — respectful, thoughtful observations from a Christian’s (or, at least, Theist’s) viewpoint. I like to think that they might somehow be useful in some distant reader’s spiritual journey. At least, I expect, it couldn’t hurt. So anyways, here’s the wry comment (from an article about the possibility of extra-terrestrial life) that prompted me to chime in:

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And here was my (typically over-long) response:


I’ll admit it: I am a creationist. Not because of science, mind you; nor yet *in spite* of science (as Science has never claimed to DISPROVE creationism by any account; nor could it). I simply CHOOSE to believe in a Creator, just as you choose to believe in his absence. We each have our reasons (both philosophical and historical), and — if we had the time to discuss them — we would likely find that most of our reasonings are, for the most part, fairly self-consistent and… well, reasonable. Where we diverge is not so much in our conclusions, but in our foundational presuppositions — which are always outside the realm of “proof” anyway.

I believe in God because I know Him. Just as my dog believes in me. (Although I suspect my cat doesn’t.) My dog can’t prove me. Such proof, if it exists, would exceed his intellectual capacity. But he is at peace in his simple belief, as am I. Clearly, this line of thought is not persuasive to anyone who has begun with a different presupposition; I certainly don’t intend it to be. But my faith satisfies MY intellectual and emotional yearnings and makes me, I think, a better person. (Not a better person than YOU, of course; just a better person than I would be otherwise).

I say all this just to remind you (in the most respectful way I know), that despite the implication of your witty comment (which did make me chuckle, by the way), creationism isn’t, in itself, ANTI-intellectual. We simply believe that not everything that is knowable can be known by mere deductive logic from first principals. If you have been happily married for very long, you might concede that this rings true (with regard to “knowing” your spouse, that is).

Hope you don’t think I’m trolling. Your comment just got me thinking, so I decided to share. I guess I’m rambling now. So I’ll stop.

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Creative Work

Creative Work - header imageThis picture is a copy of a screen-capture of a video of a chalkboard rendition of a quote by Ira Glass.

Inspiring on so many levels.
The message, the medium, the meticulous artwork.
Sweet.

(Click to enlarge.)

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Happy Birthday, Olympic Champion Eric Liddell

I know that God has made me for a purpose. But he has also made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.
– Eric Liddell, Chariots of Fire*

(*I was disappointed to learn recently that this fantastic quote, which I have often re-purposed for my own ends, was never spoken by Liddell. It was invented by Colin Welland, scriptwriter for the awesome Chariots of Fire. I still consider it one of the most inspirational lines ever scripted.)

Today is the birthday of one of the finest athletes of the 20th century. Eric Liddell, born Jan 16, 1902, is fondly remembered by sports historians and admirers not only for his laughably ugly running style, but also for his deep faith and life-long devotion to the Lord. Recently, I came across a collection of quotations* both by and about the great Scottish athlete. An inspiring and humble champion by all accounts, Eric’s godly character made a profound impression on all who met him – teammates and opponents alike. Take a few moments to read these recollections (some of which moved me to tears), and you will begin to get a glimpse of the gentle power of this inspiring young man. Continue reading

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Last Year’s Resolutions

resolutions on fire

I started this year with some New Years’ Resolutions (actually I called them “objectives” — sounded less gimicky). It was quite a list — over twenty goals, each with measurable specifics, separated into categories based on the major roles & responsibilities in my life: husband, father, health, job, men’s group ministry, technical expertise, and spiritual development. Recently, I sat down to review that list, and I learned something that I thought might be worth sharing. Continue reading

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Friday Nights on the Battlefield

“What was going on in your head out there on the field?” I asked him. “How did you manage to make it through the whole game?”

“I couldn’t think about anything,” he replied, “except just getting through the next play. Just one play at a time.”

This was part of the conversation I had with my 16 year old son, Connor, after a painfully arduous football game Friday night. He had been selected for the starting varsity lineup on both offense and defense – which means he was on the field for every minute of the bone-crushing three hour game: my sophomore son was facing juniors and seniors from the farm-burg of Sunnyside who outweighed him by 50 pounds or more. He played the game in nearly constant pain. Continue reading

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