Meeting God, Deer and Hot Peppers…

I have never been a very big sports guy. I did not play football in school, I was surely not a jock, in any way. I was such a trouble maker in school PE that they decided to buy horseshoes and try to get me, my “group”, to maybe do that, anything. Before my family was in the last few years of alcoholic disaster I did play little league and I was good. When I had my own boys I coached them in little league. I like sports but know little and it interests me little. So now that I have alienated myself from everyone who is a sports fan I have to say, this is not about sports. It’s about meeting with God.

Not being very athletic I have had to push myself to exercise. I spent a couple years going to the gym early in the mornings and got pretty buff, but lost interest. I started running and that is the one thing I have kept up. I run a few times a week, maybe a couple miles. I feel good after I do it, I like the sweat and knowing I did it, I like saying I run. Mostly I love it when God starts talking to me when I am out running, walking, sweating.

If you leave my house you can head to the end of the street and through a school yard then into a pretty big park. There are trails and thick trees, rough areas and smooth flat sections. I like it better than the school track. I listen to podcasts most of the times I run, music sometimes but mostly teachings.

When I am worrying, angry, stressed, I know I need to get outside, move my body, run. I try to focus on praying a lot of times usually drifting in and out. But then, right when I need it God shows up. For a long time it was deer. I would run up on a doe nipping the buds off a bush. I will be so stressed that I think I can’t handle one more once of pressure, I go running, crying out for God to speak, and a deer shows up. I know it’s Him, I know He is telling me it’s going to be OK. I have laughed out loud and cried deeply at how He comes to me that way. People on the trails probably think I’m crazy.

Recently He is loving on me with wild berries and peppers. OK, so wild grapes and berries line parts of the trails I run and when they were in full bloom I felt His presence. The grapes and dewberries are gone now but the chili petines are in bloom. These are a wild hot pepper, small, not much bigger than a BB, they are ripe when red. These things are so hot, I mean really hot. I stop after my run and pick the ripe ones. I try to eat them, it’s hard, but I feel like I should if I picked them. But just knowing about them, blooming in this big park and no one touches them but me and the occasional weed eater run by the maintenance guys, brings me joy and today He told me He was there with me, in the peppers. Weird, not for me.

You don’t have to be a jock, run or pick wild fruits and berries to be with God. He knows your heart and He will come to you if you seek Him. He loves us. He is the perfect father, the one who always comes to the games, always shows up, listens and gives us good advice. I did not have that dad at home and it has taken me 55 years to begin to really understand that about our God our Father. He is not who I thought He was, He loves me, He is playful and tender, firm and righteous. Next time you need Him, go for a walk. Ask Him to talk to you, be quiet and listen, watch. He is there, always.

In His Honor,

TJ Greaney

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