During our adult lives, Frances and I have run, cycled, walked, and now we kayak (note, if you will, the downward orthopedic trend in this sequence). Movement is the most common thread of all these activities. We enjoy using the physical strength God gives to venture from one place to another, and to maintain fitness and health in the journey.
Image by mikebaird via Flickr
(I have at one time propelled myself in a manner that I would have loved to have thought of as "running" but no other person on the face of the planet would have given it that definition. "Walking with ambition" perhaps, but not running. I have not been on a bicycle since my wedding day when I made the mistake of riding about ten miles on my sister-in-law's new 5-speed bike. The only "cycling" I have done since is on a Lifecycle, which actually goes nowhere. I do, however, appreciate Glen's graciously including me in his lifetime of fitness pursuits.)
The thought comes to mind that there is another common trait in these activities. We seem to have a bit of the explorer in us, that is, I think we like to see what’s out there, shall we say, "beyond the bow."
My father loved the sea and spent a great deal of his life on it traveling all around the world. His father and his maternal grandfather and my maternal grandfather, all left their homes and countries to come to America. I come from a line of people who crossed the sea to explore a new life.
Some call it wanderlust, and that seems to fit. Back in the days before the cartilage in my knees bid an inauspicious farewell, I loved to run all over our city and see the sights. To this day, running remains my all time favorite exploring activity, and Frances will tell you that when I see somebody blazing a trail in a pair of New Balance and shorts, I sigh and wistfully say, "I used to run."
I also loved cycling, and was able to widen my horizons and see more sights because of the greater speeds you can achieve on bikes. Another injury curtailed this pleasure, along with the fact that drivers in our area view cyclists as either fair game or possible terrorists (which makes them fair game).
Drivers in our area view cyclists as TARGETS.
Thankfully, walking is still an option, and I do so very early every morning. The college campus near our house where I walk is the most beautiful property in our area. It is also the highest, and one can see much of the city from certain vantage points.
This is true, the campus offers the most beautiful vignettes of the city, and just of peaceful, serene places for contemplation and rest. It is a wonderful, if hilly, place to walk.
Our latest mode of exploration, kayaking, is also a wonderful gift of God, providing scenes heretofore unknown to Frances and me. Last week, for example, we paddled 2 or 3 miles to the intersection of two bodies of water, and found an idyllic spot where we simply floated very still for quite a long while. We would still be there if it had been up to Frances, but life and duty called us to head back to our responsibilities.
I did not want to leave. It was one of the most peaceful places I have ever visited. Resting on our kayaks on that water, the sun warming our arms and legs, my feet dipped into the cool of the river, was a week of vacation wrapped up in a matter of minutes.
We love to explore, and God has given quite a world in which to do so. However, the truth of the matter is that He has given something infinitely greater to discover, and I write primarily to express the wonder of such a gift.
"One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to inquire in His temple" (Psalm 27:4).
To the trusting heart in the Lord Jesus Christ, God has given the possibility of exploring Himself. Throughout all the days of our lives, we may behold His beauty as we open His Word, commune with Him in prayer, fellowship with like-hearted believers, and believe that every moment is pregnant with the possibility of some new glimpse of His goodness. There is no journey like this journey, and no scene in creation as beautiful as those we behold when the person, nature, character, and way of our Creator are made known to us. We are changed into His likeness as we gaze upon His glory, or as A.W. Tozer once wrote, "We instinctively become like the person we perceive God to be" (I Corinthians 3:18).
"To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:" (Colossians 1:27)
We'll keep exploring our Lord's creation as long as He allows, and I look forward to sunrises, windblown treetops, soaring birds, sparkling waters, and vistas that speak of glories to come when the wonder of Christ will shine forth in all things. More importantly, we will continue the journey that never ends, the exploration of the infinite heart of God that beckons us, no matter how far we've come, to venture ever onward and upward unto glory.
The two meld so beautifully together as we spend our times upon the rivers and creeks in our areas. We see His creation speak of His glory, we see wonders from His hand we could not have seen except that our paddles took us to them and those wonders help open our eyes to the Wonder of the One who lives in us to reveal Himself in and through us today, every day and through a long and glorious eternity.