I hate the treadmill. I really do. I try to avoid it as much as possible, but the nearly 2 feet of snow outside make it pretty difficult to train anywhere else. With a half marathon looming a week from Sunday, I have to get the miles in somewhere. My plans tonight were to get in a quick 4 miles, type a recap of our January half marathon in Phoenix and call it an evening. God had other plans.

I love when He does that….

Our Pastor recently started a series on the Beatitudes. With house church looming tomorrow night, I have been thinking all day how I could tie in Sunday’s sermon on Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. I wasn’t really able to come up with anything today so I figured I would try again tomorrow. I had a pretty good feeling for what Jesus meant when he said that from my study of the Beatitudes a few years ago. I figured I could always pull something from there. God had other plans.

I hit the treadmill at a nice easy pace.  I put my iPod on Shuffle which is rare for me. I’m such a control freak when it comes to pace and music that I always use one of my pre-arranged playlists. Tonight I figured I would go with whatever played. As I went along, I began to pick up my pace. By the end I was running with the treadmill on the number 8 and completely empty. I pushed for a 5th mile and was nearing that mark when it happened. The song “How He Loves Us” by David Crowder came through the ear buds. God had other plans.

As I stood there completely empty of energy, sweating like crazy, God finally had my attention. The words to the song on my iPod echoed through my mind and directly to my heart. It began to all take shape. He was giving me a vision of being “poor in spirit”. He was removing all of the distractions from my day, my thoughts, my emotions to bring me to a point where I could think of nothing else.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
And Heaven meets earth like an unforseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…

Note after note, lyric after lyric I was reminded of my desperate need for Jesus. While I gasp for air, I was overcome with the emotion of a love for me that continues even when He knows me. He knows my faults, my failures, my weakness and my battle with self. Yet He loves. I thought of the pain I get in my chest when I think how much I love my wife and children.

He loves more.

Being poor in spirit is understanding this desperate need all of the time. Not just after a hard run. Not after being pulled from all of the distractions.

Not after God made other plans.

* You can hear David Crowder’s “How He Loves” HERE