I used to like to ride my bike with my earphones on. Singing songs of praise to You, Lord. Filling my heart with worship.
Then I realized: Although it was good that I was sending my heartfelt thoughts to You, I was not receiving whatver You might want to send to me. So I opted instead to ride my bike in silence… so I could hear from You.
“Now choose life, so that you and your children may live, and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to His voice, and hold fast to Him. For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19b-20a)
That was my prayer this morning: “I love You, Abba Father. Let me hear whatever is on Your heart today.”
Not long after my bike ride began, I began to notice something I had never noticed before. There was little or no trash alongside the road. No empty bottles or cans. No plastic bags or abandoned newspapers. No used fast-food containers or napkins. Just lush green grass, leafy green plants and colorful wildflowers.
I wondered why this is true. Is it because the traffic here is mostly local — people traveling to and from work? Is it because they have pride in their own neighborhood? Is it that those who do have pride pick up after those who don’t?
I didn’t know why. But somehow I sensed Your lesson today, Lord, was about more than just the absence of trash.
In the next instant, You reminded me of the motto I used to see at the wooded park near where I grew up. “Take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but tracks.”
Take nothing but pictures? We can take pictures that recognize and appreciate the breathtaking beauty You have created around us, Lord. But it our hearts are not right with You — not in sync with You — we can “take” away from that beauty.
We can take the “wind” out of someone’s “sails” with a deflating word. We can take the “spring” out of someone’s step with a crushing verbal blow. We can take all we want while leaving others with less than they need.
“Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Ephesians 4:29)
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of Mine, you did for Me.” (Matthew 25:40)
Leave nothing but tracks? The tracks we leave in the woods soon disappear, overtaken by undergrowth… as if we had never been there. But what about the “tracks” we leave in people’s lives? In their ways of seeing and being?
You left tracks in the world, Lord, that have never been covered up by “undergrowth”… no matter how hard Your enemy has tried. You left tracks that made — and continue to make — a lasting (eternal) difference in the whole Universe… and in the lives of all who place their hope and trust in You.
“Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my Rock and my Salvation; He is my Fortress, I will never be shaken.” (Psalm 62:5-6)
And You call us to do the same, Lord — to follow in Your footsteps. So that we, as Your Ambassadors, can leave Your “tracks” in the lives of those You have given us the opportunity to touch. As we follow in Your footsteps, the path becomes a trail… a way through even the darkest, most dense underbrush.
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, ‘I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness, but will have the Light of Life.” (John 8:12)
“Jesus answered, ‘I am The Way and The Truth and The Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)
What a beautiful morning it has been, Lord… Hearing in The Silence!