I remember waking up on a cold morning and the darkness was nothing compared to the inner depression that pushed deep down in the cracks of my heart.
Most of my professional life has been involved with coaching and part of the darkness was still feeling the pain of an early end of the football season. It has always intrigued me how symbolic football is as a snapshot of life. The summer freshness, the youthful expectations, the time change - the season change - all pointing to a narrative of life to death.
But this was deeper and darker- On Tuesday Nov 1, 2005 I posted a blog called "Hurt"- and later on Nov 11, I posted these words in a blog called "Laboring in Vain":
I confess to You O Lord that I am powerless to do even 1 good thing. I cannot change a heart, I cannot build a family or a program- I desperately need You.Sometime after that I was up and dressed for work- hurting, sad, lonely, doubting- and got in my old Mercedes Station Wagon- and drove in fog and darkness.
I am under some questiong now and results are not seen- Father- You must protect me, I cannot protect myself. I have stepped out and made decisions- these are mine and represent me.
In my deepest heart of hearts, I know I am doing right- I am willing to stand firm- but Lord- only You can change the hearts of parents and students in our school. I want to be Your man to stand for right- even if the whole world fights against me- If You are on my side- I will win.
It is dark- a winter of discontent- Lord I need the sunshine of Your smile- Only You can grant victory!
On the way to the school, I finally asked the darkest question out loud- "Father, what are you doing? I have moved my whole family and working as hard as a human can- but it seems so fruitless right now. I need help- I need to see you- I NEED to see you THIS MORNING"
The fog was thick- my radio was broken- it was bone chilling cold- the sun had just come up but was hidden in gray- I was in a crisis of faith.
I pulled around the front of our school and turned down to the football field house. I pulled up just in front of the garage entrance to our weight room. Turned off the key.. and.... I saw God.
We had a black chain link fence that went around the football stadium. And inside each of the cells of the chain link were hundreds of little spider webs. The fog had condensed in such a way that the invisible became visible.
I got out of the car and stared deeply into one of the webs. It was a perfect design. As was the next one... and the next one. These had been here for a long time- but the gray background and the dew covered silk threads were brilliantly outlined in complex, strong, and mosaic designs.
Then- a deep voice, unspoken, warmed a deep core in my being.
"I am here"
"I am always here- just as the webs have been here for weeks and weeks- you just don't see ME sometimes- but you need to walk by faith and not by sight."
It is the most intense experience with God I have ever had. It is my surest apologetic. I still remember the intensity of it 6 years later.
Do we see God in the little things?
The design of DNA? The beauty of a dewdrop? The detail of a clover?
Let me ask you to thank God today for the little things. The warm steam of a good cup of coffee. A hug of your child. A happy tear of a grandpa. Music. Chocolate. A small red leaf. The symmetry of a crappie.
He quietly says... I AM HERE. No detail is beyond His care.
Thank you Jay,
Boy, did I need this again today. I never got to know you (personally) here in Nashville but always enjoyed your teaching. God has used Bill D. & others to tune my eyes and ears to the "Little Things" I have been missing for a long time. Godspeed in your new endeavors.
Thank you Jeff- let us keep encouraging one another- the marathon will end one day in the embrace of Jesus- and whether it is one day or 50 more years- it is so worth the journey- and He helps us along the way!
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