Before the mercury hits 90,
before my favorite farmer wakes,
before the children stir,
I am already running.
The sun lifts the curtain on this day, chasing darkness across curving sky. And I chase Light down country roads.
Who knew that running could be worship? Who knew that some days, this would be the best rest I’ll get all day — when feet pound pavement and lungs open deep to thick July mornings?
I lace up the Asics, and push a button to lift the garage door, eyelid opening on the day. Earth and I stretch awake together.
Tassled corn waves at me — row upon row, stacked up against the dawn. A buck stares at me, frozen. Is it fear?
And I tremble, too. I tremble at the bigness of this rock hurling through space, carrying the smallness of me and a deer who are held on by an unseen gravitational pull.
This trembling is bursting-awe and reverence and yirah. It is a sudden reawakening and awareness of His Heaven-high majesty and His ocean-depth power. I’m overcome. I feel like I might just float right off the Earth, like E.T. and those boys on their bikes.
I’ve felt this before. I’ve felt it at the edge of the ocean in February, half-afraid it would carry me out to sea. I’ve felt it at the lip of the Grand Canyon, and biking down Haleakala. I’ve felt it at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
It’s the bigness of God, meeting the smallness of me — and this morning, He and I collide in a flurry of yirah and agape on the side of an Iowa cornfield.
He’s come to run with me again, one of His prodigal daughters. And it’s true what the Good Book says: That the Father is always at the edge of the fields waiting for the wayward ones to come home.
My friend Ann, another farmer’s wife, calls Him the Running God.
“You the Running God,
God who pounds the Earth with your elated feet
to throw holy arms around the grimy neck
of the swine-herder and prodigal and wretch like me …”
— Ann Voskamp, A Holy Experience
And when I trace paths down these country roads, I hear His name in my spirit:
Running God …
Running God …
I listen for God when I run. We talk. And I hum praise, and then I blush as I wonder if the old man driving by in his pickup saw me lifting a hand. Oh, mercy … But if I look like a fool, let me be a fool for Christ.
I push hard up the hill on the fourth mile, and my legs are tired and my lungs scream, enough already!
And I just shake my head and smile and think that God really does have a sense of humor. Because, somehow running — even when it hurts a little — has become a spiritual experience to a woman who couldn’t have run to the mailbox back in January.
I take the final turn, up the driveway and past that mailbox.
I step in through the back door — a dripping mess, sucking air. My favorite farmer is awake, at the computer checking the forecast and sipping coffee. (He always worries when I take to these roads. He’s afraid a driver won’t see me, or maybe that I’ll just keel over in a ditch.)
He greets me home with a smile, and a fresh cup and the perfect words for a prodigal child constantly in need of a Savior: “Welcome back. I’m glad you’re home.”
Each Wednesday, I join Ann Voskamp @ Holy Experience as we consider spiritual practices that draw us nearer to God. This week, we consider in community: “Listening to God.” Her post on Soulcoustics today is worth a read … You can find Ann at www.HolyExperience.com.
A question for you: When have you experienced this “bigness of God” meeting up with the smallness of humanity?