Questions from the Storm

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?

No Regrets

We buried a friend yesterday.  A dear, godly man.  Like unto a saint.

Curious, inquisitive, life-long learner, gentlemanly, courteous, quick-witted, affable, gracious, congenial, patient, kind. Rich voice, gentle hands, hearty laugh.  Settled & secure in God's sovereign grace allowing him to be a portent for many.

"He didn't wear Christianity on his lapel, but on his life.  You just knew."

I'll miss Bill Long.  He blessed me.  More than words can say.

I love Bill Long.  A treasured friend.

I'll see him again.  Thanks be to God.

Hearing such rich remembrances of a gracious soul, I wish I'd have known him even better.  Spent more time. Asked more questions.  Sought greater depth.  A sapling sheltered by a giant.

Love well, Dear Friends.  Grow where you are planted.

Spend time.

Share life.




That you'd have no regrets.

in a name

Why did you choose to call your blog "extra/ordinary aaron"?

Good question.
What is in a name?
Did you guess I might have an answer?
If you have forty-four minutes, then you can hear - a lot - about what is in this name. Preached back in April, Ordinary to Extraordinary is about the Twelve Disciples, but applies to Christ followers today. Just like you & me.
You see.
On my own I am.
Exceedingly plain. Tremendously weak. Ordinary in extra degrees.
Yet through Christ.
I can be.
Exceptionally graced. Completely empowered. Thoroughly gifted.