A Walk in the Park

After dinner yesterday, Cindi and I went for a walk in a local park.  It’s a good thing to be outside, especially during seasons of life that are especially busy.  It’s a reminder of many things, one of them being the fact that the world is much bigger than my little life.  Another is that God’s purposes in the world don’t rise and fall with what I’m doing or the length of my To-Do list, nor do they revolve around my inbred concerns and petty anxieties.  A third is that in light of the universe that God created and watches over and orchestrates, it is absolutely unbelievable that He genuinely and actively cares about my little life.  That’s amazing.  The fact that God focuses His love and care on me doesn’t make me think that I must be hot stuff.  It makes me confounded at His loving condescension.  On a side note, I can’t stand it when people say, “God loves you so much because He thinks you're special!”  No, God loves me because He’s special.  Because only a special person could love me.  My Bible, my conscience, and the cross all testify to that.But that’s actually not why I started writing about the park.

It was refreshing to just stop on the sidewalk and watch two large dogs chasing each other around on the grass.  You would think they were in heaven.  Pure, unadulterated fun.  Zero self-consciousness.  Tongues hanging out, running in circles.  Sometimes the creatures that God has made seem to have a sense of freedom and joy that evokes both awe and envy.  Awe because God is so creative and so good, and because life has so much potential for reflecting that.  Envy because I know I would share in that joy if I weren’t so spiritually constipated with the worries and cares that He’s promised to carry for me if I’ll let Him.

We also saw dozens of rabbits running around in various places.  They’re easy to identify when they move because their bushy white tails give them away.  It also helps when they bounce eighteen inches in the air.  What’s interesting is that it’s almost hard to explain the fascination.  Why exactly did we stand there for five or ten minutes, just watching a rabbit sitting and shifting now and then?  It wasn’t like Shamu at Sea World or anything.  But it didn’t have to be.  I think we were meant to be captivated by the glory of God—the multi-colored, variegated, overflowing, mouth-hanging-open, in-every-nook-and-cranny-of-the-universe glory of God.

The problem is, it’s harder to see and be stunned by that glory when you’re surrounded by four walls and a ceiling for most of your life, or when you spend all your breaks surfing the internet or going to the mall or watching a small box in a place called “the living room” or watching a large screen in a place called “the theater.”  I mean, I enjoy bowling as much as the next guy, but sometimes you just need to get out and look at the stars.

Or you could get out and (if you were at the park on Monday evening around sunset) watch the little gopher or groundhog or whatever he was peaking his head in and out of his golf-ball-sized hole in the dirt, waiting to see if it was safe to come out and do whatever he does when he comes out.  I thought it was safe, but then again, I’m two hundred times his size.  Or you could’ve walked by some rustling grass and realized that it was another gopher/groundhog pulling full stalks of grass into his hole in the ground to do whatever he does with them.  Eat?  Build a nest?  Floss?  Joust with his buddy up the hill?  And he was pulling them into his hole from below.  So for awhile, it looked like there was something beneath the ground yanking stems of grass down directly through the surface.  That’s an interesting sight.  And I didn’t even need to turn on the DVD player to see it.  There was another good ten minutes well-spent.  I told Cindi that I wished we could see an aerial cross-section of the small valley we were in—just take the surface off and show us the world that’s just a few inches below the world we see.

I don’t have time to talk about the hundreds of kinds of trees I saw or the huge thicket the rabbits lived in or the dog playing fetch like there was no tomorrow.  But I think you get the point.

You really could get out and see a lot of things, all of them fascinating and all of them potentially worshipful.  I’m glad I did, and I think the Lord was honored—just because we enjoyed it and because we knew it came from Him.  It’s wonderful that the God we serve can be honored by sheer joy and adoration and captivation, not just by hard work and sacrifice.


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