I love cycling! I just started a few years ago and thoroughly enjoy it. I have been able to meet an eclectic group of fellow cyclists, make some new friends, see parts of my state I would otherwise over-look, and witness in small ways about my faith in Christ. A lot of issues have been worked on and prayed for while out riding in the country. I really enjoy riding in local charity events and end my “season” with completing a 150 mile ride to bring awareness and raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis.
There are numerous hills dispersed throughout my corner of the state in Missouri. Oh, I love going down them, but climbing back up is a whole other issue. Often, I just want to unclip my shoes, get off the bike, and walk up. But, I don’t (okay…well maybe a few times). Instead, I huff and puff my way up these “Ozarkian” hills.
The bike is not to blame. It doesn’t change. The suffering of the ride really has nothing to do with the bike, but instead, my lack of focus, determination, and training….oh yeah….and those darn hills. I am now realizing that perhaps my cycling journeys represent my walk with Christ.
I’ve found that when being challenged by a major hill that feels more like a mountain, I’ve struggled with the instinct to just keep my focus on the Lord. It can be hard to stay determined to make it up that mountain. I have wanted to do it all on my own and not allow the Lord to help me up it. Then there are those times when life is good and I’m just flying along. I fail to notice or acknowledge sometimes the One who gives me those moments where I am carefree, content, and not having to work very hard.
Like cycling, I think that walking with the Lord takes practice. Let me explain a little further. Before I fully committed myself to the Lord, I did not realize how important it was to stay active in faith. I just assumed that I could be “immobile” and the Lord would take care of it all. I did not pray that often, barely cracked open my bible, and never went to church.
Through the past 12 years since I have surrendered it all to Him, I have learned that being active in my faith requires daily “training”. Prayer, acknowledging His good works in my day-to-day life, trusting Him daily, reading the Word, tithing, being active in church, serving others….the training regiment goes on and on. I do not want to be a lukewarm, out-of-shape Christian.
When I am out on my bike and really feeling every muscle in my legs burn, I start to recite to myself “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
If I look up the road and see what seems like a monster of a hill coming, I recite “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
If nearing the end of a long ride and I am just worn out, I tell myself “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:13).
Just like training rides build up my strength and endurance, my daily walk, or run for that matter, with the Lord builds up my strength to face the mountains in life. Christ strengthens, Christ builds up, Christ refines, and Christ declares the victory.