To Love & To Lead: Staff Discussions


Posted on Nov 12, 2019 by Roger Goins, Director of Ministries


Maybe I am a little weird—Kathy certainly thinks so—but my favorite way to spend a holiday is all by myself in the woods.  I like people. I like being around people. I’m not uncomfortable in a crowd; If you put me in a crowd with a crisis, I even get a bit of an adrenaline rush and I love living on adrenaline.  At some point though, I have to recharge my batteries and the only way I can do that is alone.  So to celebrate Veterans’ Day, I headed out to Lee Creek Reservoir for a trail run.


At 11:45 am it was about 50o, a light rain was falling, and the north wind was gusting.  There wasn’t a car in the parking lot—there wasn’t even a footprint in the trail.  It was perfect running weather and I was completely alone.  If you’ve ever been to Lee Creek Reservoir, you know that the trail is anything but smooth.  There are large and small rocks that are sometimes covered by leaves, roots that are only partially exposed, roots that stick up just enough to grab your toe, low-hanging tree limbs, ruts, and water puddles.  You can’t run this trail in auto-pilot; you have to watch every step.   A couple of years age, Kathy bought me a headset that sits on my temples so I can hear my phone and still hear everything around me. It seemed like a good day for some old familiar music so I pulled up my playlist of old hymns and headed up the trail.  A half-mile in, I came to the creek crossing.  There was no way to cross with dry feet and I was second-guessing my decision to leave the gloves in the truck but I crossed anyway and headed up the first big hill.  It took about 2 miles to clear my head from the meetings, luncheons, decisions, and other activities of the week.  By the three-mile mark, I was thoroughly soaked and tired but otherwise felling pretty good.  The rain was picking up and I could hear the low rumbling of distant thunder when I got back to the creek crossing to head home.


As I came out of the creek, I turned left without even thinking; right would have taken me home, left meant at least another mile.  I am not sure why I turned left but I ran up the trail alongside the creek listening to the rain, the rolling creek, and Alan Jackson.   I’ve been out in a lot of storms—even got caught in a hurricane once—and a lot of lightning and thunder.  Even as the rain picked up, this didn’t feel like one of those storms.  Suddenly the thunder rolled across the valley.  It was different.  It did not start low and build.  It started LOUD on my far right then it rolled across in front of me then to my left.  It probably lasted 4-5 seconds and the volume never lowered until it was gone.  I started up the last hill thinking how magnificent is God.  What were the Israelites thinking as they followed a pillar of fire every night?  How could they see the magnificence of God that close and that personally and still build a golden idol.  Then I tripped over a root.  Yep—I see the magnificence of God and I still have my own idols.  That hill is steep and treacherous with loose rock and roots yet I don’t remember the climb.  There was a flash of lightning and a thunderclap as the bottom fell out of the clouds.  I could have sworn that I heard God laugh and say “Watch this.”  The sleet started stinging the back of my neck before I realized it was falling.  Again, I thought of the Israelites.  He was telling me that He provided manna—falling from the sky—for them and He would continue to provide for me.  At this point, the trail had about 3 inches of standing water and I didn’t even care.  Alan Jackson started singing “He Lives” and—as Reverend Levingston preached Sunday—I was convinced that nothing could separate me from the love of Christ Jesus. He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today. He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.  In all the world around me I see His loving care and though my heart grows weary I never will despair.  I know that He is leading, through all the stormy blast.  The day of His appearing will come at last.  You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.

We do serve a Risen Savior; He is alive and active in this world today.  I pray He rejuvenated your spirit this Veterans’ day.  He certainly rejuvenated mine!

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