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?



Our four year old - the Loving Linebacker - is growing bigger & acting stouter all the time.  Rough & tumble one moment. Gentle & loving the next.

Attempting to ready him for sleep last night I said, "Let's lay on your bed & read a book."  Knowing that he loves to be self-determined I added, "You choose one."

And, since he wants to be a paleontologist, I should not have been surprised by his choice: Ferocious Dinosaurs!  It even has sound.  Roaaaar!  I read softly & slowly attempting to mellow the beast beside me.  Yet he was so excited, he couldn't lay down, but sat & bounced beside me.  Peppering me with questions. Animated at the prospect of enormous creatures eating gargantuan plants.  And one another.  Rough & tumble.

Book complete, however, he laid his head on my chest.  Gentle & loving.

I whispered slowly, awe voiced, "Lay still. What do you hear?"

He whispered back, still as he could be, "I hear thumping."

"That's Daddy's heartbeat. God makes it beat.  It makes me alive."

I received a still, soft, "Uh-huh."  He lay motionless.  Listening.

Still whispering I asked, "Do you know what it says?"  Speaking to the rhythm of my heart, "Thump-thump, thump-thump, says, I love, John Mark. I love, Mama. I love, Mary.  I love, Sethy. I love, John Mark."

And then I prayed.  With my son's ear planted still.  On my chest.  I prayed.  Of thanksgiving, of praise, of protection, of wisdom.  And love.

O, how a father loves.

O, how much more our Heavenly Father loves.

God, so loved... you.

But God demonstrates his own love... to you.

You are the heartbeat of our Heavenly Father.

Share a comment - praise, prayer, thanks - as you choose.


Forty observations on life celebrating my fortieth birthday. Some serious. Some not so much. You decide.

  1. Never cease to by amazed by God’s grace. Thank Him.
  2. Help. I need somebody. We all need help at times. Be willing.
  3. Friends are essential equipment for life well live. Be one.
  4. Mayonnaise tastes good. Especially on french fries. Try.
  5. Sleep is a gift. Don’t hate if you don’t have it.
  6. Crying is good. Joyful. Painful. Griefful. Let it out.
  7. Dr. Pepper really does make life taste better. 10-2-4.
  8. Laugh. Loud & often. Thank me later.
  9. Hair needs trimming. Nose & ear hairs with age. Agh!
  10. Be courageous. Your gut is right. Mostly.
  11. Chill. Too serious is too bad. Loosen up a little.
  12. Trust God. And others. Mystery makes you stronger.
  13. A day without peanut butter is not a day. Mmmm.
  14. Inspiration is essential. Search it out. Dream.
  15. Seasons change. Enjoy the difference.
  16. Eat more fruit & veggies. Ask my wife.
  17. Run. For your life.
  18. God gives grace to the humble. Be broken.
  19. Show your faith. Sacrifice.
  20. Growth is change for the better. Don’t die.
  21. Chocolate. Just as long as you have some in the house.
  22. Memories are priceless. Hold on.
  23. Patience. Its a virtue hard earned. Worth the wait.
  24. Be a kid. I act like I’m 6 (or 66). Ask my wife that one too.
  25. Give your heart. God says you’ll find Him.
  26. A lion’s roar. In the wild. Will surprise you.
  27. Forgiveness is the best gift. To give yourself too.
  28. Pain reminds us we’re human. Don’t curse. Thank God.
  29. Follow Jesus. The best decision you’ll ever make.
  30. We need a big God. Don’t limit him by your thinking. Or faith.
  31. Have passion. Live for something.
  32. Stretch your brain. Learn.
  33. Two words: Ice cream. Two more: Blue Bell.
  34. Comfort is a virtue. No matter what others say.
  35. Give. It’s best.
  36. Love with everything you’ve got. You can do it.
  37. Order is nice, but life is unpredictable. Be flexible.
  38. Treasure family. God gave you one another.
  39. Listen. You’ll learn things you never knew.
  40. Don’t tell your wife not to interrupt when writing your forty things. Trust me.