Sunday, January 6, 2013

Straight and Narrow

I've taken up off-road biking for the last six months. And as it grows colder, more snow and ice accumulate on the trail, and they are always more than willing to encourage me to get to know the ground more intimately.

As time goes on, I have begun to learn several things about biking.

Number one, look exactly where you want to go. You don't look at the rock in the middle of the trail. You don't look over the cliff on your right. You look exactly where you want to be, and amazingly that's where you go.

Secondly, you have to have a certain amount of courage and healthy fear at the same time. If you're scared, you'll end up going extremely slow and not making it up the hills where you need speed. But, if you're too impetuous and don't know how to slow down when you should, you'll take quite a number of tumbles.

Number three, focus. If you don't stay focused, you'll eventually make a mistake and pay dearly for it with a couple scrapes and bruises.

While I was biking this last week, I was kind of hit by the thought of how much like life, biking really is. If you spend all your time studying the cliff, or watching every rock you could hit, you will eventually fall. You will at some point shoot out off that cliff. When people spend most of their week focused on secular philosophers, ideas, music, and not on God, eventually they will end up jumping off the narrow trail and over these cliffs. Sure, if you spend a small amount of time looking out over the cliff, you'll be fine. I can occasionally dart my eyes off the trail and take in the scenery. But unless I'm looking at the trail, I'm not going to be on it for much longer.

Where our soul longs to be, that's where we will go. Whether it be for good or evil.

Also, life is about courage. Being courageous when we fail. Brushing ourselves off after we take a little tumble in life. Get back on your bike and start again. You learned a lesson. But never quit. You have to balance caution and courage all your life. Knowing when to push hard, and knowing when to slow down. (Not something I'm good at..)

Lastly, focus. Life is a long journey. Biking is only an hour or two. Life is 80+ years. Staying focused on that narrow trail is going to be hard. People will try to distract you. Deep drop offs will be on both sides of you at times. Sometimes, you'll dart through meadows. Other times, you'll be going through difficult boulder fields. But, if you don't focus inevitably you'll be cleaning gravel out of your skin, nursing a broken leg, or cleaning off someone else's street pizza.

Thankfully, we aren't in this alone. God is right there. He is our strength. When we fail, he is there. When we think we got it, and then promptly fall on our faces, he's there. He is our place of safety. We have no need to fear the world, the scrapes, the broken legs, and death. What a truly remarkable feeling.

I love Psalm 18, specifically the 2nd verse. The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my savior; my God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety.