Jeremiah 23:24 Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him? declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? declares the Lord.
Our bike team ventures out on a two-day bike ride in October. Some will ride 100-miles in two days. Some will ride the grueling 150-miles; 100 on day one and 50 on day two. The distance is of no consequence to those braving the 150 mile ride; it’s the hills and technical descents occurring after mile 65 which are the greatest concern. Focus, endurance, physical strength, and mental fortitude are required to go above and beyond their perceived limitations in order to finish the ride.
This team has a reputation of camaraderie; staying together in a group or at the bare minimum – pairs. There is comfort in our numbers. We can encourage each other, support each other and have fun together. But the ride is known as the one of the most challenging century rides in Southern California. Finishing Day-1’s century is a huge accomplishment. So at the ride’s crossroads, a few of our mates have occasionally gone solo to attain the coveted 150-mile finisher medal. Initially, I made every effort to discourage this, chiding riders for going rogue or simply being disappointed when they did. Even as the team captain I have fallen into the break-away fever and separated from my trio-group in order to finish the last punishing 45-miles alone. This year I made a huge point of making it clear to all; no rider will be left alone. We will ride together or in pairs at all times.
Commendable, but not always what God intends.
Thinking back I realized each of us who set ourselves apart from our sub-group to take on the treacherous ride ahead, found ourselves gaining more than a finish line medal. We discovered the human limitations of self and encountered our limitless, infinite God. O, I know some of you are raising your eyebrows, smirking with a “tisk, tisk” under your breath. “Really? It’s just a bike ride.” But it’s true. Somewhere on that road, in the midst of aching, cramping muscles, endless thirst and gasps for air, birthed desperation for the Almighty God. You may not believe it, but for those of us who experienced it, God met each one of us uniquely, teaching us the truth of who we really are – and who HE really is. While fear of an injured rider or having one of them lose their way justified my need for rigid order and control, God has plans all His own. He is above all and governs all; in spite of my clip-board full of rules. He is before the beginning and beyond the end. Certainly I can trust HIM to manage the journey for each one these bike riders.
Now, I wish to recant my strong worded speech to my fellow team mates. Instead, I wish to tell them:
“On our bike ride, we will make every effort to ride as a team. But, like ‘life’ – sometimes, on some roads, God calls us to travel as a duo. At that moment it will be just you and just God; no one else is required. You’ll feel a mixture of excitement and dread. You’ll resist the call, but be compelled to heed it all the same. When that happens, do not be afraid. You can never break away from God. He is with you. He will watch over you. There is no place you can go where He will not be. Count on it; HE will be there with you no matter what. So when you look back at us asking for our blessing; our blessing you will have. No need wonder if we’ll pray; it’s yours without a second thought. We will commit every inch of your journey to the ONE who holds heaven and earth in the palm of His hands. He will never leave you no forsake you. Therefore, GO. We will see you at the finish line.”
Psalm 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.