Spiritual Practice

God Gave Me a Picture

Katy Steele Barclay

I have a friend who loves adventures. He breathes them, basks in them. I’d barely made it into his driveway when he ran toward my car, stuck his head in the window, and asked, “Are you in, or are you out?” I knew the right answer: “I’m in.” The spontaneous, hilarious night that followed couldn’t have been more golden.

Later that week, God gave me a picture. I was sitting in a dim church pew when a scene began to play in my mind. I wrote it down in my journal.

I love golden hour at the beach, when everything the sun touches is warm and lovely. Tonight, when I close my eyes, I see Jesus and me, playing in golden rays of sun. We’re laughing in the waves when all of a sudden, he takes off running down the shore. It’s a playful gesture; and without much hesitation, I run after him.

Katy-fountain-covI see Jesus, looking over his shoulder at me, throwing his head back to see if I am still running. I realize he’s laughing into the wind and calling out, “Follow me.”

I don’t ask questions. I keep my eyes on him; and with all I have, I run. I find I have incredible strength. A voice trails behind me, cheering in my ear, “This is the way.” I never look back. I’m looking only at a beautiful human being, who shines love. I don’t know where we’re going, but I know I need to be wherever he is. He looks back at me again, still smiling, waiting to get to the place he’s been leading me my whole life.

I never see myself reach the destination. The horizon gets misty, and my view of Jesus fades in the distance. But I never stop running. I know he’s still there; and I know that when I reach the edge of the shore, he’ll be standing there, waiting. I’ll be right on time, and he’ll be waiting for me to run into his arms. He’ll smile then, and say, “That was just the beginning. You haven’t seen anything yet.” And just like that, we’ll be off again, running together for eternity.

I run in the path of your commands, for you have broadened my understanding.
Psalm 110:32 (NIV)

Now, I think I have a better idea of what it means to fix my eyes on Christ, to run the race marked out for me, to follow without hesitation because I’m compelled by a spirit that’s bigger than I am. I’m thankful God gave me a picture. I know that it will be with me for the rest of my life; and I know that when God asks, “Are you in, or are you out,” without hesitation I’ll answer, “I’m in.” And then? I’ll run.



Be still; see what image the Lord might reveal to you. Play music, read scripture, or pray to focus your mind. Imagine yourself with Jesus. What are the two of you doing? How does he look at you? What words does he say? Turn your thoughts into a journal entry. Don’t filter what you write. Let your heart spill onto the page as you seek God’s presence.

Katy Steele Barclay , a recent graduate from Elon University, is traveling as a missionary with the World Race to share the love of Jesus with people in 11 different nations across the world.

—from devozine (March/April 2015). Copyright © 2015 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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