Illinois Incline or a Mt. Ranier?

>> Saturday, September 13, 2008

Lately I've been riding my bike. I've decided I like it much better than walking. For one thing, it's possible to go farther than what I'm used to and I get a bit different scenery. I've got it down pat, too. I figured out a way to go that has NO hills whatsoever. Of course I have non-Illinois friends who don't believe we even have hills here but believe me, when you're riding a bike, even the smallest incline is Mt. Ranier! At least right now, as I'm getting used to this being up out of bed, moving around, doing something that pumps up my heart. Oh yes, I remember the word for that now -- dare I write it? EXERCISE!

On my last ride I took advantage of every bit of "incline" I had. I struggled up and then sailed down. See me in the picture? LOL! Ummm, yeah right. Whatever. But I found this spiritual truth as I rode: when I coasted down the hill, I found that it was okay for a bit. It gave my heart an opportunity to catch up. But you know what?

After you coast down, there's usually another incline up ahead. I found if I started to pedal again while going down, I really got a momentum going and it would take me farther and faster for longer.

It reminded me of life. When life is going smoothly we tend to coast. Sometimes we pull away from God. Get pride-ful thinking we have something to do with our good breaks. That is the time to PRAY. The time to READ the WORD. Come on - you know it -- on the heels of a good break is trouble of some kind. While we're in this good time, take a breath, enjoy the coast, and then pick up speed again.

I remember when I was little how I would spread both my arms out to my sides and pretend to be flying. If I tried to do that now, I would surely land in the ditch. But even now my grip loosens. I become a little careless as I feel the wind in my face. When the first little struggle starts, my legs begin to burn, my heart rate increases, and you know what my hands do? My grip tightens.

That's our walk with God. When the way gets tough, we run to God (usually anyway.) Our grip tightens onto His arm. I want to keep a tight grip ALL THE TIME! I need God both in the easy times and the hard. I NEED GOD ALL THE TIME!

All of us are at different places - some aren't struggling up a little Illinois incline. Some are trying to ride up a Mt. Ranier. I know it seems like it goes on and on. The troubles never seem to go away. Your legs are burning (and your toe may even hurt.) Your heart is racing. It seems like God is light-years away and at times it seems that He's right there pushing you along.

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run (ride) with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Heb. 12:1-3 NIV)

Keep on pedaling and maybe you'll even see a friend pedal up next to you, urging you along. I hope so, anyway, because that's what we all should be doing. Urging each other to keep going. We can even get off our bikes and push them up together.

Aloha Babay!

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