You woke me up this morning, Lord, five minutes before the alarm went off. I was tired, but grateful.
“Therefore keep watch because you do not know when the owner of the house will come back… If He comes suddenly, do not let Him find you sleeping.” (Mark 13:35a,36b)
I got dressed and left for the drive into town. My weekly rendezvous with walkers and runners in training for the Madison 4 Miler later this summer.
This morning, our goal was 1.75 miles. I headed out, walking at a brisk pace with three other women. It didn’t take long before one started to lag behind. She dropped back, and was soon trailing us by twenty feet.
I was deeply engaged in conversation with the other two when You interrupted my train of thought with one of Your own: “Go back and walk with her.”
“Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a Voice behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.'” (Isaiah 30:21)
Oh, Abba… I confess it took me a couple of minutes to obey You. I was enjoying the brisk pace and the conversation with these two women. But Your instruction became so insistent — so “loud” — in my mind, I couldn’t concentrate on what they were saying anymore.
So I finally said “Yes” to You… and met someone who, thanks to You, is no longer a stranger. Someone who needed a lot more than a walk this morning.
“Before they call, I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.” (Isaiah 65:24)
I don’t even remember now how You did it, Lord. The particular questions You prompted me to ask or their particular order. But somehow, sooner than I would have expected, she was honoring me with her transparency. Telling me about the tragedy a few years ago that changed her life forever. Her struggles. Her feelings — even her anger — toward You.
She didn’t understand. She questioned. She wept. She ranted. She doubted. She couldn’t see her way through. But she kept going.
She kept living, one day at a time. She kept going to church and being involved there. Her heart wasn’t in it. Her heart was shattered. But she just kept showing up, And You proved to her that You were there… with her, for her. One breath at a time.
“… those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” (Isaiah 40:31)
She’s still a long way from this. The tragedy changed everything. It ended some priceless dreams. But others are now forming. She still can’t see into the future. But now, she’s trusting — by faith — that You do, Lord… and that You have A Plan.
Her story reminded me of an old baseball saying I heard long ago: “You win some, you lose some, and some get rained out.” Years ago, You had me add a post script to that saying: “But you dress for every game.”
That’s what she’s been doing: Dressing for every game. Showing up instead of giving up.
I was grateful for the encouraging words You gave me to share with her this morning, Lord… words from Your heart to hers. Perhaps You have more words yet to come. But maybe the most important part of today’s “encounter” was the fact that I came so close to missing it.
I had my own plan for today — for working out and hanging out with certain people. But You had a different plan — a better one.
You always do. If only I will listen.
Wide awake, at least for now…