Crazy Good God: Wed., June 22, '22
Since it started to think it’s summer around these parts, I’ve had to extend my normal daily run from 14 to 16 mi. in order to add a 25¢ cold-water dispenser to the route, just to make it home with enough water. However, yesterday, I saw an old friend, Bobby, at his house 3.5 mi. from my house. And he told me I could stop by any time and get water from his house, that I didn’t have to knock or ask. Cool.
So, how does my fortuitous meeting with Bobby yesterday figure into God’s plan for me today? Cinch up your spiritual seatbelt kids and hang on: Today, I decided—because I started later than I wanted—to not go the extra 2 mi. to the cold-water stop, but to go straight on my “used-to-be-normal” 14-mi. route. Decision made. God starts lining things up to blow my mind, again! Game on.
I am about 30 min. into the outbound part of the loop and I prayed, out loud and kinda jokingly, “Well God, today’d be a great day to meet a purrty gal!” I was kidding. Well, sorta, but less than 10 min. later, I run up alongside a running mom with two of her young boys riding along on a bike or roller blades, and we started having a wonderful conversation as we trotted along, me recalling how used to I take my sons, Matt & Chris along with me on long runs on their bikes. I learned she had fought breast cancer and all 5 of her kids used to come out and run with her as she was battling chemo and radiation. That’s how she got through it. Wow!
She turned into the art park, and I ran on, tears in my eyes, just thanking God, and praying for my new friend. What a blessing. God answered my half-joking prayer within about 10 min., and what a powerful meeting it was. Praise God!
While running with her, we had passed a really tall dude I’d seen a couple times before power-walking on really hot days; we were kindred spirits sharing an I-ain’t-skeert-o‘-no-heat mindset. So, I was stoked to see him again on the backside of the park coming towards me as I was starting my return leg. We stopped and chatted for maybe 8 or 9 min. I learned he was a former college and pro basketball player, had just ended a 22-year business career, and was walking (and jogging some) every day to get back in shape…before he was going to start work at a new gig. It was a great, short talk and I hope to see Bryan again out there, soon, before he has to resume the daily grind. (He was already lamenting not being able to come out and get some miles in at lunchtime.)
On I went, and I came to a super-busy intersection which was jammin’ with the lunch traffic! And as I waited to get the right-of-way in the crosswalk, I spy a couple who appeared to have a dead vehicle and were trying to figure out how to get it out of traffic’s way. I did a quick left-‘n’-right look and the jaywalked (a.k.a. shot) across “my” road, made a left hook, and repeated the same thing to get to them. It was like God parted the sea…of speeding cars…so I could safely scoot across to their disabled vehicle.
“Need some help?”
“Oh, bless you. Yes!”
So, he (Mike) hopped in to steer and “Cat” and I started pushing and got it on a roll. I could see ahead to where Mike was gonna turn into the safety of the first parking lot, but there was a little hill from the road.
“Keep it goin’ Cat! Lord, give me the strength of Shamgar!” I hollered and gave it everything I had to get some speed.
We made it up to the crest, but not quite over, and it started rolling back. Mike stopped it and threw it in park. He and Cat switched places and I got a reverse grip and we got it pushed up and over. Then, we even pushed it back into a parking place.
Turns out, Mike & Cathy Haris are believers, so I told ‘em to go to www.RunnersChurch.com, and to contact me so I could hear the rest of the story on the ole truck. They were so grateful, but I was MORE grateful, knowing how God, in ways I can only barely see now, counted me worthy to walk in good works prepared for me to walk in them from before the foundation of the world! (RE: EPH 2:10) How He allowed me to “reroute”, thanks to my previous conversation with Bobby practicing hospitality (RE: ROM 12:13, HEB 13:2); and then delaying me with I-BEAT-CANCER-BY-RUNNING-WITH-MY-FAMILY “super-runner-mom”, and B-ball Bryan, just enough time to put me there, then, at the exact place and at the exact moment He needed me!
Oh, and He gave me strength beyond my buck-twenty pounds to give the ole truck a good run…AND PROTECTED MY INJURED HAMMIE, praise God!!! I was on-fire…But God wasn’t done.
As I’m moving along, coming to the next big intersection, I was going to pass a young man. But, I could tell from behind he might suffer from mental illness. I unintentionally spooked him when I called out I was behind him, and so I took the opportunity to calm him down and walk and talk. We walked about 800m or so, and I just reminded him that Jesus loves him. Knows the name of every single star, "...and He knows YOUR name, brother!"
As he headed left to McDonald’s, I went straight as soon a I got my right-of-way. At the last second, some woman ran the red and never slowed or swerved to miss me squarely in the crosswalk. I leapt backwards and slammed my water bottle into her passenger side window—partly out of self-defense and partly to “sensitize motorists”. She sped on as I’m sure she would have had she hit me. An onlooker gave me the thumbs-up and just shook his head. State of the world, I guess. “The love of man will grow cold in the last days…” (RE: MT 24:12)
When I got to the other side, there was a young man on the corner with a big poster board with a long Scripture from (I believe) the Book of Daniel, although it wasn’t cited. I took up discourse with the brother, whose name is also Mark; I asked him about his mission and ministry. Learned where he attended church, a little about his testimony. I encouraged him because I think it’s awesome that he invests time into Kingdom work on his days off. I suggested he might reconsider the length of his passages. “You’ve only got seconds here at this intersection to convey a message of hope, of truth, of light.” I told him to check out the RC website and to text me his church info, which he promptly did.
As I ambled on, aglow with the Spirit, I got super-hungry—weak-kneed hungry—and came upon a Mulberry tree. But to say pickin’s was slim would be an understatement. Nonetheless, “I have learned to be content with whatever I have….I have learned the secret of being well-fed and of going hungry, of having plenty and of being in need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.” (RE: PHIL 4:11b-13) I moved about 3 feet and saw berry stains on the ground…and looked above, and a totally new-to-me kind of Mulberry tree laden with fruit: ripe Mulberries that were a whitish-pink (or pinkish-white). And they were absolutely the best I’ve ever had. YUM-YUM.com! Again, the Lord took care of me.
As I crossed the next intersection, running strong on high-octane berry fuel, Larry—my neighbor who gave me the two license plates, and who is going to lay down his life for me for a day at the Honey Badger 100M, July 10 (he’s volunteering to crew me)—hollered out and waved. I waved back, glad he saw me running strong, as I’m sure he’ll get to see “the darker side of ultrarunning” as he nurses me along the HB100 route in the heat of July!
As I was on my final mile, some girl was texting while driving and veered into the bike lane I was safely running in and I threw one of my water bottles at her car before she mowed me over. Direct hit. I was like 2-0 on sensitizing motorists on this run just trying to save my life!
I know I’ve gone on way too long about a training run. But wow! Praise God! Did you see all He did on one, daily run? Once again, I am just blown away at the crazy goodness of God. Yes & Amen!