By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
I like running at night.
Wearing my multicolored running shoes and flipping on a podcast, I proceed to jog into the darkness with only the light from my headlamp illuminating my way.
To me, running at night has always been superior to running in the day. It’s cooler, there’s not a lot of people out, and running all your energy away gives you a good night’s sleep. A downside to night running is the dogs. Many times, you can hear them barking, but you can never see them. That is, until they scurry up to you and begin nipping at your heels (Yes, this happened. I don’t like to talk about it).
I look forward to my night runs. The stress of the day melts away as your feet slap against the sidewalk. Your mind goes blank when you get into a rhythm: Right foot, breathe in, left foot, breathe out. Endorphins flood your brain and make you feel good. As you reach your goal, ending up back at your front door, you are filled with a sense of accomplishment.
Night running has a lot of positives (The dogs not being one. Although, they do make you run faster). But my favorite part about running at night is something I have coined, “spider hunting”.
I remember it was my first time running at night. I had just received my headlamp in the mail and I was ready to gear up and jog off into the night. I began my run, my light casting shadows off the grass on my neighbor’s lawn and causing the developing dew drops to shimmer like diamonds. In fact, there were a lot of sparkles poking light in the midst of the darkness. I noticed it wasn’t just coming from the water on the grass. It occasionally sprinkled the sidewalk and the cracks in the road. A tilt of my head would bring new shimmers into view. I began to grow curious. What is causing all of this glittering? Rocks? Glass? Water?
I jogged on and eventually saw a sparkling dot twinkle into view just a few feet ahead, right in the middle of the sidewalk. I came upon it quickly and stood over it. I looked down at the sparkle only to see… a spider. The light from my headlamp was reflecting off the eyes of this tiny spider causing it to glimmer in the night. This then led me to my next thought. Had all the sparkles I’d been seeing for the past mile been spiders? I suddenly grew very uncomfortable.
Over my next few runs, I began to test out my hypothesis that each glimmer spotted amid the night was a spider and I found that around 60% of the time this was true (I made up this number but it sounds right). A majority of the time the glittering was a spider. Other times it was rocks or dew. If you don’t believe me, you can ask my wife. I had her try on my headlamp and look for herself.
So recently, on my runs, I’ve been counting spiders–looking for shimmering eyes and taking note. The highest I’ve gotten was 23.
Why am I sharing this?
Sometimes, our life feels like we are running in the dark. It feels like nothing is going right. We are filled with hopelessness and all we know is the unknown.
It is when our life is like running in the night, we have to keep our eyes open for spiders. We have to be on the lookout for those glimmers of hope, those spots of light in the midst of the darkness. Even in your darkest days, God is at work. God hasn’t left you, but instead, He is working in the dark. Open your eyes to what He’s doing.
Begin counting spiders. See how high you get.