Posted by Richard S. Lytle, Ph.D. in Blogs
It was 5:30 a.m., August 16th. I was tired. Really tired. Exhausted might be a better descriptor. My flight arrived in Colorado Springs at 11:15 p.m. the night before—after an extensive period of work and travel. I had been away from our Colorado offices for a month. My head hit the pillow around 12:45 a.m. (2:45 a.m. EDT- the time zone from which I flew).
I forced myself out of my hotel bed and headed out to exercise. On my run down the hill from the hotel, I entered a field and ran a familiar Colorado trail I had run many times since taking my new job in January. This day I noticed everything was quite brown. The grass was withered. The trail was narrow, dusty, and overgrown making it difficult to run. Tumble weeds and thorns filled the pathway on which I attempted to travel. Low lying water, stale with moss and sewage was in sight. It also seemed hotter than normal.
To sum it up, the topography around me was discouraging and I was not “feeling it.” However, today was the day I needed passion and inspiration from this run on this trail. Within hours I was to share our new vision with the home office and next week with the Board. At midpoint in the run, as usual, I reversed direction to re-run the same trail back to the hotel to complete my workout. But, on this leg of the journey I did something different. I stopped. I turned. I looked up. The grandeur of the mountains knocked me to my knees. His presence changed everything. I spoke of His goodness and His greatness out loud. I thanked Him for the heights of His forgiveness, for the grandeur of His grace, and for His mountain of power in my life. He became my focal point and the dirt trail became a minor irritation. His presence filled my soul with gladness. He revived me that morning. He gave me rest.
Words flooded my head like living water. Ideas sprang forth like fountains from the deep. I received the inspiration and passion I needed. It really happened to me. It was incredible. Then, it hit me. The trail had not changed. My view from the trail had. Earlier in the year when everything was new for me, I ran this trail and marveled at these mountains and the grandeur of God. I found inspiration every morning! Not so this morning. This day I found discouragement as I traveled this trail. It may be that sometimes we lose our enthusiasm and awe for the beauty of the trails we have been assigned to travel and have traveled so often—vocation, leadership, marriage, parenting, etc. The newness wears off. The trail becomes difficult. We grow weary. Our daily downward view reveals dirt, dust, and thorns.
The answer lies in His presence. His presence changes everything. Every person. Every corner office. Every marriage. Every parent/child relationship. Every organization. Every nation. Every trail and every trial you can imagine is changed by His presence. Moses knew it to be true. When he faced his greatest leadership challenge on a familiar well-traveled, dusty, thorn-filled trail to freedom, he begged for God’s presence to go with him. The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?” The result was pretty cool. And so it is will be with us. His presence changes everything!