You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. ~Psalm 16:11Last June Pat and I took a bike ride on the newly opened Rail Trail over by us. We bought our bikes the summer before last, so they are fairly new. I have a cute little basket on the front of mine. We put our water bottles in the basket and set off. When we got on the trail, people admired my basket. Baskets are handy things to have after all. I envisioned a romantic bicycle ride through beautiful scenery, chatting with my husband. I hoped he would be able to keep up with me. Pat might be stronger than me, but I do a lot of running around up and down stairs every day. Did I mention that God has a sense of humor and pride does come before the fall.
Much more quickly than I anticipated, like right away, my legs began to ache. I begged Pat to stop and rest. He looked at me funny but waited for me to catch up. I panted, "I think my gears might be a little rusty or something. I feel like I’m pedaling in water." Pat glanced over. There was nothing obviously wrong with my bike so when I caught my breath, we began again. Pat helpfully suggested that I try shifting gears. I shifted in every direction. Nothing helped. One painfully long mile later, I was grouching, surely we were going up a subtle but steep incline. My legs were quivering. To make matters worse, Pat looked great! He was practically riding in circles around me. It was humiliating. After three miles, Pat had compassion on me and we turned around. I was sure the return trip would be better because now I would be going down hill. Except that it was just as hard to pedal. I practically crawled back to the car with my bike. We had gone a total of six miles.
A few weeks later I got up enough courage to go back to the trail again. I took all of the kids, olders and youngers. Pat was working on something at home. Before we left, Pat helpfully oiled the gears on my bike. At the Rail Trail, I started off hopefully but once again got into trouble pretty quickly. My son Brian, graciously offered to put my bike into a gear that made sense. I think I had shifted it so much the trip before that it was in hundreth gear. I got back on my bike and while it was easier to ride, I still felt like I was going up hill even though it really is a relatively level surface. Another very painful six miles. When we arrived home, I complained to my beloved and long-suffering husband. “I just don’t get it. My bike didn’t feel like this last year. It is just so hard to ride. I can’t possibly be that out of shape.”
To humor me, Pat did some investigating. Pat had me lift the back of the bike. He spun the wheel. It rolled merrily along. Not like me. Then we tried the front wheel. He gave it a spin. After a rotation it slowed then stopped. He spun it again with more force. Again the tire went around once then stopped. We both leaned in and spotted the difficulty. My beautiful basket was pressing on the brake line. I had been riding with the front brake dragging on the wheel for twelve miles.
“Well that’s gotta be tough.” was Pat’s understatement.
Jesus says in Matt. 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”Jesus understands that sometimes we feel like we are pedaling up hill both ways. He understands how hard life can be sometimes. He understands difficulties and disappointments. He understands that life does not always go as we thought it should. He understands all of this and more.
Jesus offers us an invitation. It’s not an invitation that denies the reality of our situation, or tells us that it is not as hard as it really is. What Jesus says is, “Come.”
Come to Jesus, enter into His embrace and He will ride with us on this journey of life where there is fullness of joy and rest for the weary.
They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint. ~Isaiah 40:31Those that wait upon the Lord will even ride their bikes without the brakes on. We just need to ask Him to join us on the bicycle ride of life.
Did I mention that I rode TWELVE MILES with the brake on?!!!