Running and The Glory of God

 

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Recently our family returned from a relaxing vacation in Destin, Florida. The warmth, the beach, the pounding surf, time with family and all the other ingredients that make an epic family vacation were stirred into the two weeks we had together, producing a cake of fine memories. We have too many pictures to prove it.

A top memory that I have from the trip was a run I went on in the early morning while we were there. I stepped out into the 67 degree morning thinking about the bone chilling cold that would have been greeting me back home in Minnesota. Instead, the air was slightly sticky, and a gentle breeze greeted my skin as my legs began churning underneath me. Take me places, Asics.

The first three miles were spent running down old Highway 98 which runs parallel to the shoreline on the Gulf Coast. The road is stuffed with high rise hotels and gaudy tourist attractions begging you to spend money at every turn. In a few hours the sidewalks, parking lots and buildings would be swollen with the bustling of people- but now now. Right now the only thing that was greeting me were the infrequent hand waves from a few other runners and the pounding music of Shai Linne in my ears as he sang about the glory of God.

After three miles I turned around and the darkness began giving away to tinges of light as the sun promised that it would be rising again. I ran across a boardwalk that perched me high above the beach and ocean which allowed a panoramic view. I saw a speck on the beach. Slightly bigger than a speck really, but very small set against the backdrop of a sprawling beach and expansive ocean. As I looked closer I saw that it was a single man sitting on a beach chair drinking in the view. He looked so small and what he was observing was so huge.

I shut my music off and began thinking and processing what I was seeing. This is a perfect picture of God and man. God is bigger than we could possibly imagine. More glorious than we could possibly imagine. As big as this ocean and beach is, we can only see a sliver of it. There are still hundreds of miles of this beach that I can’t see and not to mention the mysteries that I can’t see that lay beneath the surface of that blue, rolling expanse called the Gulf of Mexico.

I kept thinking. Not only did this moment remind me that God is bigger than I can possibly imagine but he is always there. The residents and tourists of Destin do not wake up in the morning and wonder, “Hmmm, I wonder if that ocean is still there. Let me go take a look.” No way. They walk out their front step with full confidence that the ocean will be there to greet them with its faithfully pounding surf. Time and time again. God is like that. He is always there, always working his will faithfully, even when we are not directly looking at it or able to see it.

Finally, I thought about God’s wrath. This ocean, given a little more water, a little more wind, could wipe out all that has been built up along this shoreline. Yet it is held at bay along the beach, occasionally reaching a little farther up with its ebbing tide. What looks so peaceful and glorious could swiftly be turned into something powerful, destructive, and fearful. God’s wrath is kept at bay because of what Jesus did at the cross. We all experience common grace each day as the sun comes up. Yet there is a final judgement coming where God’s fury will be unleashed like a hurricane that will bring his justice against those who have not banked on the security of his Son.

As I finished the last mile of my run on the beach I returned from the place I started. I stopped on that beach. My heart pounding, sweat rolling, mind thinking. I had met God that morning in the stillness of the Gulf of Mexico and was thankful for it. He wasn’t done. That day would be another cloud covered one in which the sun would be hidden from view, but I was to catch a glimpse of it. Between the ocean meeting the skyline there was a small gap of clearness and I could see the brilliant rays of orange and red bursting across the horizon. For one minute I saw the glory of the sun and my knees greeted the sugary sand and I worshiped the living, triune God. For sixty seconds a little bit of the veil that we live under had been pulled back.

I run for moments like that.
It’s seen in the stars
Seen in the galaxies, Seen in quasars
Neptune, Uranus, and Pluto and Jupiter,
Mercury, Saturn and Venus and mars
Back to the earth, it shows in the trees
Each of the leaves blows in the breeze
Locusts and bees, oceans and seas
All the result of Jehovah’s decrees
Observe the way his word creates
Preserves and shapes, determines fates
Reverberates at urgent rates
The earth it shakes with fervent quakes

Imagine it
I can’t explain the half of it
Our brains can’t even fathom it
And language is inadequate
To characterize the Lord on the throne
With spiritual eyes his story is known
From Him & Through Him & To Him is everything
Surely to God be the glory alone
From Him & Through Him & To Him is everything
Surely to God be the glory alone

Shai Linne- The Glory of God

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About justicetheline

Above all I am a Christian Hedonist pursuing my ultimate satisfaction and joy in God. This blog contains postings about what God is teaching me through his Word, is an outlet for some of my photography, and will occasionally include stories about my experiences as a deputy sheriff on patrol. View all posts by justicetheline

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