Sometimes I just need to take a hike.
Okay, so Wheaton and hiking might be mutually exclusive. But sometimes I need to take a metaphorical hike from focusing on my own life, and when that’s the case, I take to the streets of this little neighborhood. Sometimes it’s to get some fresh air and get out of my townhouse. Sometimes it’s to pray without the distractions of books and my computer and things to accomplish. Today it was simply to remind myself that this whole world is brimming with life, and God is in charge of all of it.
Isn’t it too easy to become self-focused? As though I am the planet’s center of gravity, and if my life is tipping too far in one direction, the entire world will come crashing down, too. I’ve been feeling like that lately, so off I walked, avoiding sidewalk cracks, admiring flowers, mentally repainting houses, and looking for life.
Do you know what I saw? Normal stuff. I saw a man in a suit, walking his dog. I saw two neighbors talking in a yard. I saw a father and son arguing in a driveway. There were sidewalks being repaved, cars driving by, a little kid riding a trike in his driveway — helmet and all. Life is so big. All of those houses are filled with people who have joys and pains, hundreds of years of combined experiences and memories. The Lord sees it all, knows us better than we know ourselves, and certainly has plans for us that are greater than our own — even if he isn’t quick to reveal those to us.
That’s a tough one for me. Yes, I chuckle to others, God’s got a good plan; it must be good, since he’s keeping it a surprise! But on the inside, I’m not always chuckling. The truth is, sometimes I just don’t get God. Sometimes I don’t hear him, or I’m getting mixed signals, or any number of communication problem metaphors. I know he’s there, and I know he’s doing something, because he is a living and active God, orchestrating his will in this world, for his glory and my joy. I know that in the deepest way that I can know it. But can’t he just let me in on the game plan?
I came home at the end of my walk, encouraged and peaceful, though still wishing he’d just write a message in the clouds. I reached my cross street, and to my right, there was a gorgeous sunset, against which were silhouetted some trees and a bridge. It was actually breathtaking. The sun was shielded behind some wispy clouds, and the sky was just saturated with orange light. I stood there, looking at that beautiful sunset, people driving by and probably thinking I was crazy for standing still instead of going somewhere. (Sometimes, we just need to stand.) And as I was standing there, thinking about the glory of God, the sun came out from behind those clouds. In full force, I could see the orange sphere of the sun against the orange of the sky, and a few seconds later, I couldn’t look anymore. The sun was too bright. But I wanted to see it! Why couldn’t my eyes handle the brightness of the sun?
As much as the gently setting sun reminded me of the glory of God, the blazing ball of fire that came out from behind the clouds reminded me of his glory even more. We just want to look, don’t we? We want to see it all! Moses saw just the back of God, and his face radiated with the glory of it all. I wanted to look at that sun, see it in all its beauty, but it was just too much for me to handle. And really, I know in my heart that that’s sometimes true of God’s plan, as well. I want the big picture, and he gives me a day at a time — as if that weren’t enough for me, anyway!
So, I’m a fan of walks and hikes, literal and metaphorical. I hope my walk today can encourage you in your own.