Last weekend I went for a ride with the local cycling club. It was a cool June morning, and although the clouds were a little ominous, they appeared to be far off from where we were. They were majestic and huge; a fantastic site to look at when riding. The group I ride with was about 20 miles or so into our ride when the clouds turned ugly, dark, and started to dispense some raindrops on us.
At first, the rain felt refreshing. I’ve gotten over my fear of riding in the rain, so the fresh cool drops were a welcome guest. Soon the few sprinkles turned into big drops which in-turn turned into buckets of cold rain. Thunder started roaring, and ahead of us great big bolts of lightning started to strike the Earth.
Everyone seemed to increase their speed, and pretty soon, I was being passed by a few other cyclists. I couldn’t help but notice the smiles on the faces of those pedaling by me. It seems storms tend to give way to an adrenaline rush, a slight fear, and the notion that we are all a little crazy for being out there on the road during thunderstorms.
The more we rode, the closer the storm seemed to come. It was all around us. We had to ride into it in order to navigate our way out of it. I know that might not make much sense, but we knew if we turned back, the storm would eventually find us again.
As we drew closer to the flashing lightning, the rush I had been feeling turned to fear. I began to pray, “Lord, we need a hedge of protection around us.” I repeated this prayer for the next six or seven miles. In that moment of darkening skies, rolling thunder, blasting lightning strikes, and pounding cold rain, I realized that without my prayers and the God I believe in, I was nothing. I was nothing but a speck in the middle of a mighty storm. I was vulnerable. I was small. I was clipped onto a bike and all I could do was pedal on until I found shelter or a way out of the storm.
I was at the storm’s mercy, and trust me, it was not a merciful storm.
After figuring out where we believed the storm was heading, we were able to cut out about ten miles of road and head back to where we started. Once out of the storm, I began to relax. The smile came back on my face, and I realized that we were going to be okay. Riding through the storm was frightening, but a little exhilarating. Once back in the cycling group, we began to swap storm stories, and all seemed very thankful to be off the bike.
I needed to ride through that storm. I needed to feel vulnerable, fearful, and in need of mercy. I needed to call out to Him for protection. I needed the reminder that I am very small in context to this mighty world we live in.
I also needed the reminder that storms of life come up suddenly, and without much warning. When in the middle of the crashing sounds of fear, and the strong waves of pain, I need to hang on, ride through it, and call to the Lord in prayer.
When the storms of life are merciless, and bigger than what we feel we can handle, may we embrace the peace that comes from knowing the One who carries us through them.