Scottsbluff, Nebraska. Almost Wyoming. I had a conference there this week. Beautiful country. Big sky, rolling plains, semi-arid, grasslands. And crazy cool rock formations. As a runner & outdoor lover, I was looking forward to the chance to get run trails in Scotts Bluff National Monument & Wildcat Hills State Recreation Area. Monday evening, after waiting out that afternoon's thunderstorm, I “ran the rock” as a friend said of the imposing Scotts Bluff. Tuesday evening, with storms clouds to the south looking as if they’d blow to the east, I set out to run the longer, trickier Wildcat Hills.
Near perfect. Sixty degrees & breezy, I exulted in the single-track through forests, across meadows & along rock formations. About an hour into my run, at the farthest point out from my car, I was greeted by dark clouds creeping over the hills as I turned south. Five minutes later I stopped to compose the photo above. A few minutes past that I was hunkered under a cedar-treed ledge as torrents of rain unleashed. Then hail. Drenched already, I prayed that the hail would let up so I might run for cover in a shelter house I believed was up the now slick hillside above me.
The hail subsided. I thanked God & charged up the hill reaching the welcomed shelter soaked to the bone. There, thankful for three walls & a roof, I waited for the rain to stop. I prayed, sang, thought, & moved around to stay warm. An hour later. Just about dried out. The rain stopped. I took the cue & ran the sticky access road as quickly as I could one mile back to my car. Reaching the parking lot, the sky opened up once more. But I made it. Thankful for the beauty of creation. Thankful for the adventure. Thankful for the ability to run. Thankful for God’s grace. Even in rain & hail.
Life is like my Wildcat Hills run. Ups & downs. Beautiful & fearsome. Smooth & rocky. Gorgeous & ugly. Hot & cold. Exhilarating & painful. Breezy & stormy.
Was there ever a moment in that run when God didn’t know where I was? What I was doing? That He loved me? Was there ever a moment in which He could not control the natural forces He created? Yet, for whatever reason, he allowed me to experience every minute of it. And I wonder, why is it so easy for me to doubt God’s love or question His purpose in the hard times? Yet I am not so quick to acknowledge His blessing in the good times? Why can’t I accept the storms as part of life? Seek the shelter I can? Make the best of the time? And ask God what He wants me to learn from it?