The following is written by Chris Wilson as he reflects on his experience following an early morning run.
There are few places on Earth I’ve experienced the presence of the Lord more strongly or heard His voice more clearly than on the banks of a river or creek. Engulfed in His nature, witness to His beauty, alone but for my thoughts and the occasional creature – winged, furry, or scaly – that passes me.
And it’s here I find myself on this particular morning.
Given my druthers, I’d be accompanied by my fishing pole anytime I can steal a moment beside the creek, but not today. Today I just finished a run. I walk a few yards off the path to a rock that juts out several feet from the bank, providing a nice overlook of the rushing creek, swollen from recent rain, about ten feet below. Branches, heavy with freshly sprouted and wet leaves, sag down all around the rocky edge, cutting off the view of the footbridge a few hundred feet up the path. The water is high and loud, rushing over low hanging branches and slippery rocks, and it drowns out all sound of traffic. It’s early. Not yet 6:30 am. And I might as well be the last person on Earth.
As I sit, face flushed and chest heaving from the run, I breathe in deep. The air, still damp with a slight chill, feels like new life.
This is it. This is where I find God.
No matter how hard the day before, or how daunting the day ahead, this is a place where I know I’ll experience God.
The next day happens to be my 30th birthday.
I close my eyes and begin to think about what that means for me: “30 years on this Earth. Lord, is this where You wanted me to be, three decades ago, when you breathed life into me? Have I done the things You laid out for me to do? Am I on the path You want me to be on? Do I represent You enough? Am I the husband, the father, the son, the brother You intended me to be? Where do I go from here, Lord?”
My mind becomes crowded with these thoughts, so I close my eyes tighter, and listen more closely to the water, and feel more viscerally the mist, and suddenly:
Like so many times before in this setting, a voice through the cacophony of thoughts. “Stop. Look around you. Look at the beauty of this place.”
I’m reminded of Psalm 19:1-2. “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands”. That’s what I see here, feel here; the glory and presence of God. God pours his beauty into his creation and even though we catch but a glimmer of it in these places, I am awestruck. “Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge”. The same hands that carved this creek into the earth holds the future that I contemplate on its banks.
I don’t know exactly what my next 30 days hold, let alone 30 years. But I know that God, who is trustworthy and full of glory, will be guiding me, reminding me of who he is through moments like this.
“May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart by pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14.