I have been mostly off the bike for the past few weeks due to some personal health concerns. For someone always on the move, being still has been very difficult. Much of my world up to now has revolved around my passion, which is cycling. With it unexpectedly taken from me due to some health concerns, I have been left with a void along with lingering questioning as to why God would allow such a disappointing turn to happen.
The Lord reminded me in this unexpected sabbatical that when Martha and Mary were with him, Jesus commended Mary as having made the better choice (Luke 10). Resting at the feet of Jesus is in fact the only thing we ever really need to do. God can get along just fine in the world without our help. When we do participate in the work, we should see it rather as a privilege on our part to ride along with him, so to speak, and be a part of what he is doing in the world. I say this because I think I was falling into the trap of needing to do the work of sharing Christ, rather than needing to just be a child of God.
Consequently, I have been learning the practice of rest. As I draw near to Christ, my hope is that he will give clarity for when/how to move forward in the way the he wishes for me to go. This passage from John comes to mind as I write these words:
“The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” John 3:8 (NIV)
The Spirit of God moves the people of God as he pleases, and as with the wind, we may not know where the Lord may be taking us at times, however we can rest in the hope that God’s best purposes are fulfilled as we draw close to Christ and follow as he leads. It can actually be liberating to be free from the demands that others or we may place on ourselves.
Only one thing is important, and I am choosing what is better.
Construction: it’s the bane of every cyclist. To find out that our favorite Strava route or segment is under construction is among the worst things we can imagine happening to dampen our riding spirits. With the immediate loss comes a temporary inconvenience, which can overshadow the positive, future benefits the improvements will bring.
We can be the same way with people, too. New, inexperienced cyclists can be perceived as an inconvenience, with their ignorance of cycling etiquette, group pace, and other aspects of the group riding experience. Nonetheless, we were all newbies once, and as one who is still new to group riding (last year was my first year) I can recall instances when I have been treated with distain by more experienced riders for my perceived slights. I have also been in groups where cyclists have spread gossip about other riders in the group. Whether a cyclist’s behavior on the bike is worthy of correction or not, talking behind other’s backs achieves nothing except to alienate individuals.
Rather than tearing people down, I strongly believe we should be looking out for each other instead. The person I help and show grace to today may be the person who watches my back tomorrow. While I have had my negative experiences, I can honestly say (thankfully) that over the course of the past year I can recall many more instances of those who coached me gently through my inexperience instead of mocking me or developing a distain for my participation. I am truly grateful for their mentoring and hold these folks in very high regard – ones who serve as a model for the rest of us.
The bible, as you would imagine, also weighs in on the matter:
Don’t be jealous or proud, but be humble and consider others more important than yourselves. Care about them as much as you care about yourselves.
As with a construction project, there is a worthy goal awaiting when we invest in the lives of others, whether we’re simply out there on the road showing grace to a fellow cyclist, or (more importantly) when we take the time to care about people while we’re on this journey through life. It’s a lesson we can all pass forward….
WHEN YOU ARE GOING THROUGH A DARK time— a hard time— it’s easy to project that darkness into the future. The longer you struggle with adverse circumstances, the darker the way before you appears— and the harder it is to imagine yourself walking along bright paths again. The temptation is to just give up and let misery become your companion. So it is crucial at such times to remember that I am your constant Companion. Moreover, because I am Sovereign God, I am able to turn your darkness into Light.
When you feel on the verge of sinking in despair, turn to Me for help. Cling to My hand, and walk by faith through the darkness. Do not focus on the circumstances that are weighing you down. Instead, through eyes of faith, look ahead to brighter times, and praise Me for them. While you worship Me in the midst of darkness, I enable you to see the first gleam of dawn on the path before you. Continue walking worshipfully with Me— a walk of faith. As you persevere along this path, the dim light will gradually shine brighter and brighter till the full light of day.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners. —Isaiah 61: 1
You are my lamp, O LORD; the LORD turns my darkness into light. —2 Samuel 22: 29
We walk by faith, not by sight. —2 Corinthians 5: 7 NKJV
The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. —Proverbs 4: 18
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Finishing is better than starting. — Ecclesiastes 7:8 (NLT)