So far this summer, Tammy and I have followed through on one of our fitness goals. We have managed to ride about ten miles most evenings on our bikes. We throw our bikes in the back of Tammy’s pickup, drive down to the river and get on the lovely bike path that runs along the Miami River. Other than dodging the inevitable goose poop along our route, it is a beautiful and revitalizing ride.
Last night, we got on our bikes and off we went. We did the first five miles like it was nothing! It felt like we were riding with the wind. As soon as we turned around to come back, we discovered why. We HAD been riding with the wind. The return trip was an entirely different story. It felt like we were riding uphill for five solid miles. We had to expend twice as much effort in order to go the same distance – in probably double the time.
It isn’t difficult to make a parallel from this to the life of faith. There are times in life when things go well, almost effortlessly. It feels like we are “in the groove,” and blessings overflow. Other times, things may not seem to come so easily. In fact, it may seem like you are trying twice as hard and yet the good things now seem elusive.
When it comes to riding my bike, I remind myself that the whole point of getting on my bike and riding is to get a good workout. If it takes twice as much work and twice as long to finish the last five miles, the better it is for my heart! The same is true in the Christian life. If you are fixated on the numbers, then “riding against the wind” can seem like a terrible situation in which to find yourself. However, maybe God isn’t so much concerned about the results as about your faithfulness. Maybe God is happiest with you, not when you are riding with the wind and reaping the blessings, but faithfully pedaling your heart out and barely getting anywhere.
We must never forget that the human perspective on life is rarely God’s perspective. What may seem like failure in our eyes (cue Jesus’ arrest, trial and crucifixion) might very well shine with glory in God’s eyes. As difficult as it may be for us to understand, it isn’t our job to succeed, but to practice loving faithfulness in all things. It is our job to trust that God really does hold the world in the palm of his hand.
This past Sunday, we had five new members join and many other visitors who are returning week after week and excited to be joining us in worship and fellowship. Right now it feels a little like we’re riding with the wind. Once again, the key is remembering our calling: keep pedaling and keep trusting. God really is in charge – no matter which way the wind is blowing.