A few weeks ago, I went jogging with a friend.
He’s that friend who decides to run his first marathon and then finishes it in 3:39.
He’s fast and tall and made in a factory that produces long distance runners.
Suffice it to say, I have a hard time keeping up with him, but it’s great because it forces me to run faster. (Pretty sure that iron sharpens iron verse applies to neighborhood jogging.)
Toward the end of the run, I was doing my best hold it together. He was still producing paragraphs of conversation, barely out of breath. I was just yelling single words like, “Sure!” or “Yeah!” or “Car!” I also had headphones in, adding a soft undercurrent of Explosions in the Sky to the run. I was thinking about a speech I was giving at Belmont the next night. And last but not least, I was trying to avoid packs of feral dogs. Not that I’ve seen any in our neighborhood, but I swear to you I saw some sort of jackal/coyote hybrid run into a drainage pipe at the library.
Weirdest thing I’ve ever seen.
Needless to say, during the run I was distracted. I was bent on moving forward, on keeping pace and not losing focus on what was in front of me. As we turned the last corner though, I saw a reflection on a sign ahead. I turned around for the briefest of moments and this is what I saw behind me.
It was massive. It was colorful. It was beautiful without me adding a single filter to it. It was breaking over the river and through the woods, like it was on its way to grandmother’s house. And I almost missed it.
I was so distracted by life that I almost missed what was behind me. What was inescapable once I paused for just a second and looked around.
I think, all too often, that’s what happens with God too. We get in a rush. We get anxious about something right in front of us. We try to hold it together and just keep going and we don’t see him. It feels like he’s not there. He’s nowhere to be found. Fear spurs us on faster. Worry throws blinders on our day.
But, if we’d turn around for a second, if we’d stop running for a second, we’d see him. Maybe not in a way that would make a wicked awesome Instagram image, but he’d be there. He’d be there behind us, reminding us of all the other times he’s pulled us through a situation. All the times he’s been faithful and good because that is his character.
Maybe you’re better at pausing than I am. But if you’re not, the next time life gets fast, don’t be too busy to stop and look around. You just might be surprised by what you see.