Just Another Walk In The Park?

We are blessed to have a little neighborhood park about a half-mile from Casa Burchett so dog friend Hannah and I headed there this morning.

Hannah Sic'em

I have walked this park dozens and dozens of times over the years. But today something funny happened. There is an old joke for my sports inclined readers.

I went to a fight today and a hockey game broke out. Today’s Bad Christian paraphrase is I went on a walk today and worship broke out.

It started routinely enough. Hannah was busy checking new messages left along the path by other canine buddies. Apparently she had a lot of mail to catch up on.

I was listening to the Grace Romans CD series with Bill Thrall in my ear. For some reason I began to notice what had been around me all along.

The park has a play area for kids, an open area for soccer and Frisbee and dog running and a wooded area with some natural fields. I first noticed some toddlers playing in the wood chips around the playground toys. I smiled at their delight to see Hannah. I thought about their innocence and complete trust that Mom was taking care of them. I suspect that was what Jesus was talking about when He told us to be like little children. Not that we should become childish but that we would trust completely like a child because we can’t do this Christian thing ourselves.

Around the bend I saw three squirrels running and playing. I thought how much cuter they are in the field than they are in the attic of my house. The cavorting squirrels inflamed Hannah’s sin nature but the critter’s seemed to know she was safely restrained.

For some reason I was taking in all that was going on in this quiet little park. A blue jay darted through the bushes. We walked over the wooded creek area and I watched the fascinating, darting flight of a dragonfly. The wildflowers carpeted the field in a swaying tapestry of color. Some sparrows hopped along the path ahead.

On the next lap I watched a toddler running across the field. Is there anything cuter than watching a little one run with their own distinct style? I thought how much that little boy’s running was like my Christian experience. Making progress but always with the potential for a major face plant at any moment.

I felt so alive. So much of what is good on this troubled planet was right here around me. It was routine. But it was life. Young moms and precious children. God’s awesome creation ranging from amazing blue skies to brilliant red cardinals to annoying fire ants. So why do I tend to only think about the fire ants when there is so much more?

On the final lap a butterfly flitted among the wildflowers and one of my favorite analogies from the book TrueFaced came to mind.  

Have we already been changed?  Yes.  As day is from night, we have been changed.  We have received a new heart, for crying out loud!  We have a brand new core-identity.  We have already been changed.  Now we get to mature into who we already are. 

…Nature provides many examples of this incredible discrepancy between who we appear to be and who we truly are.  Consider the caterpillar.  If we brought a caterpillar to a biologist and asked him to analyze it and describe its DNA, he would tell us, “I know this looks like a caterpillar to you, but scientifically, according to every test, including DNA, this fully and completely a butterfly.”  Wow!  God has wired into a creature that looks nothing like a butterfly, a perfectly complete butterfly “identity”.  And because the caterpillar is a butterfly in essence, it will one day display the behavior and attributes of a butterfly.  The caterpillar matures into what is already true about it.  In the meantime, berating the caterpillar for not being more like a butterfly is not only futile, it will probably hurt his tiny ears! 

So it is with us.  God has given us the DNA of godliness.  We are saints.  Righteous.  Nothing we do will make us more righteous than we already are.  Nothing we do will alter this reality.  God knows our DNA.  He knows that we are “Christ in me”.  And now He is asking us to join Him in what He already knows is true!”

That is when worship broke out. Being in His creation with good dog friend Hannah enjoying good enough health to walk briskly and good enough eyes to see His beauty. Seeing children laughing and playing. Life teeming all around me on the ground and in the air and in the trees. And then realizing that this same God that created this world had changed this creature named Dave Burchett into something I never thought possible. Godly. A saint. Righteous. Are you kidding me? But that is what God says is true about me. And can be true about you if you put your full trust in Christ.

What a day. What a Savior! How I wish for everyday to be just another walk in the park.