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?