Thursday, August 14, 2008

Wind and Will

I keep a close watch on the weather predictions because I ride my bike to work most days. It probably doesn't make much difference whether it rains or shines, though: I'll likely still be riding. I guess I just like to know before hand what I'll be up against.

The south winds that are customary here bring both heat and a combination of ease and pain. Heat because they come from the warmer south; ease and pain because they provide head winds on the way (pain) and tail winds on the way home (ease).

However, this wind formula is not always valid. Take yesterday, for example. My ride to work was against a south wind, as usual, but by the time I left for home, the wind had shifted so it was coming against me on the way home, too. Realizing this, I admit that I looked for an easy way out: the bus.

A bus route goes along half of my eight-mile trip home. I left work hoping to catch a bus and ease my trip home. As I approached the intersection of my route home with the bus route, I saw the bus at the optimal bus stop. However, I had to wait at a light for a left turn, and while waiting, the bus pulled away.

In this season of the Olympic Games, I determined to give my all in my pursuit of the bus. The bus, I thought, was my gold medal.

As I chased the bus, I felt the pains of exertion and the thrill of closure as I would almost overtake it, just to see it pull away right before I could get there. This happened a few times, and I knew that my chances of catching the bus were limited because there is a point after which the next stop is a considerable distance away, with two sizable hills to overcome before it. In this stretch, the bus could easily pull away and I would be unable to regain the lost ground.

Knowing what was at stake, I pushed harder than before. My muscles ached and my body craved relief as I fought the wind and the distance between me and the bus...

I was too late. The bus pulled away, once again, before I arrived. Instead of giving up, though, I pictured the five rings of the Olympics and pressed on. I could catch the bus, I figured, in the next few miles. Yet, as I pushed on as hard as before, I felt a part of me speak up.

Apparently in my drive to "win" I forgot that I was riding as hard and fast as I could against a head wind in 100+ degree weather. From deep within I felt a prayer rise to the surface, "Thy will be done."

The part of me that could see clearly in this one-sided competition reached upwards, and the rest of me soon followed. Instead of killing myself to try to find relief, I tried trusting in the Lord. I was going against a head wind, but I knew that with the Lord's help I could make it home, and arrive safely.

So, as though a switch had been activated, I looked upward as I pressed onward. Interestingly, the rest of my ride home was more enjoyable than the first half had been. The pain of competition had been replaced with the peace of cooperation—cooperation between the Lord and me.

While I may not have won the gold medal in the bus chase, I still feel like I won. Besides, when I'm on the Lord's team, I know I will win.

2 thoughts

Maryann said...

I am glad that you eased up. I can't imagine pushing that hard agains the wind and doing it in hot weather. I am happy when I know you are safely home or safely at school. I love you!

justinrowe said...

How do you possibly find time to write these sermons? I barely find time to brush my teeth.