by Barb Poston
“I come to the garden alone while the dew is still on the roses,
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
And he walks with me, and he talks with me, and he tells me I am his own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.”
The words of this hymn, “In the Garden,” by Charles Austin Miles, have become one of my themes for walks I take in the morning. My initial reason for taking early morning walks was simply for exercise toward better health and weight loss. My primary reason for sharing pictures and thoughts from my morning walk on Facebook was for accountability with others. But my walks have developed into much more. I’ve discovered that this alone time doesn’t need to be alone time. It has become time spent thinking with and listening to God. Until recently, I thought that last line from the hymn cited above, “None other has ever known,” was a rather prideful and self-centered claim. I’ve come to realize it means that there is no greater joy possible to anyone. The joy of spending intimate time with Jesus is the greatest joy imaginable.
Morning by morning I have become more conscious of the beauty of God’s glorious creativity all around me. The changing seasons and the slow changes within each season highlight King Solomon’s words:
“For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. . . . Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 11, NLT).
Sharing God’s Beauty
I have enjoyed being able to share photos of spring and autumn with my Florida friends who don’t experience either season. Then, as we wintered in Florida, I shared those sunny, colorful photos with friends and family in the Midwest. My prayer is that God’s eternity would be blooming in my heart as I shared my photos and reflections. One of my goals is also to contribute positive posts on Facebook that can help offset just a bit of the ugly that can be found there. I love seeing my friends comment on the beauty of God’s creation seen in my pics. Some recent comments have been: “Thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures! You make a difference every day.” “Thanks as always, for sharing your insight. One of my favorite posts every day.” “Beautiful. Flowers and God’s Word!”
While walking in Florida one morning this year, I was thinking about trees. Most deciduous trees lose their leaves in a blaze of glory in the autumn and then wait until spring to get new vibrant green leaves. Some oaks, many in that area, hold on tightly to their leaves until they are totally browned out and dead looking. Then the new green leaves practically push those old brown ones off to the ground. That made me think of God’s church and opportunities it affords me to minister and serve. How many times have I held on to too many ministries, just doing a so-so job, when God has had to push me out of such a position to allow opportunity for someone newer, with fresh ideas and vibrancy? It’s much better to know when I’ve given my best, leave the ministry opportunity in a blaze of glory for Jesus, and then wait patiently for God to provide that next ministry he’s designing for me.
Often as I walk, certain Scripture verses come to mind. One bright sunny morning I passed a potted geranium and thought about these verses: “We have this treasure in clay pots, so that it may be made clear that this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us. . . . That the life of Jesus may be made visible in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:7, 11, NRSV). Then my heart turned to this very old chorus:
“Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me, all his wonderful passion and purity, O thou Spirit divine, all my nature refine, till the beauty of Jesus be seen in me.”
God’s wonder and power was evidenced in a morning walk as I watched a black ant for quite some time. He was carrying a load bigger than his body. First, he made me think of the Frank Sinatra song, “High Hopes.” Next, I thought of “The Little Engine That Could,” and over it all, God’s Word, “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13, NLT).
One morning as I passed by a large fire ant hill, the Lord brought to mind 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (NIV). As I observed the ant hill, I considered the idea that perhaps sometimes the devil isn’t like a roaring lion in our lives but rather attacks us like thousands of tiny fire ant bites. I checked—fire ants can be deadly! Sometimes it’s the little choices and little compromises that eat us up spiritually.
Step by Step He Leads Me
Gratitude barely covers my thanks for all the Sunday school teachers and Bible study leaders who have taught me God’s Word through the years. Even more thanks to those who taught me to study and learn God’s Word for myself. During my morning walks, the Holy Spirit brings to my remembrance that which has been planted deep in my heart and mind.
Now, once again summer is beginning to transition into my favorite season—autumn. My morning walks will continue as long as God gives me the health to keep on. I plan to keep sharing what I’m shown by God. As I walk with him, I often think of these lyrics from the song, “Step by Step,” by songwriter and musician Rich Mullins:
“Oh God, You are my God and I will ever praise You,
Oh God, You are my God and I will ever praise You.
I will seek You in the morning and I will learn to walk in Your ways;
And step by step You’ll lead me, and I will follow You all of my days.”
Barb Poston has been married to her career military husband for sixty years. After Tom retired from the Air Force and then Barb retired from Family Christian Stores, both still love serving the Lord through supporting and serving his church and his people.