Sunday, January 3, 2016

What God Showed Me Through the Gears of a Clown Bike In Tackling Obstacles

This is a photo of me braving incarceration yet again. I rolled my little folding clown bicycle into my van, and drove out to the river bikepath for some much needed R and R. For those of you who missed the excitement of this week, I helped rescue a young mom who was being coerced forcibly by her own family to abort her baby. Fortunately, law enforcement figured out I was working on the mama's behalf as well as self defense, and ended up helping me rather than arresting me. She and the baby are safe now through the efforts of several team members of Cities4Life and friends, but it has not been easy.

Anyway, now that I had a breather, and the sun came out after nearly two straight weeks or so of rain, I pedaled away to an adventure. You can probably see from the picture that the river is in flood stage. Thus, the bike path was closed half way along the trail.

I could see the small flooded section in front of me. People could easily walk around it. To my eyes, the risk was 0 %, the reward 100 %, so I walked around the caution/trail closed tape. The entire rest of the path was completely dry. In fact, lots of folks were walking from the other end of the bikepath which had not been cordoned off. If the cops were going to arrest me, they'd have to arrest an entire community of scofflaws defying the yellow caution tape.

My clown bike is quite old. I had noticed as I loaded it in the van that the gear shift cover had fallen off. It has no functional use except to show me what gear I am in. The little bike only has three gears. On flat bike paths, those three gears are sufficient. I rarely shift out of second gear. However, this particular bike path is quite hilly. The hills are very steep. The whole way out, I struggled up each hill. Even in first gear. What was wrong with me??

I must be more worn out from the rescue this week than I thought! I was in first gear, and still huffing like an overweight granny up the hill. It wasn't till I had been biking for an hour that I realized I was not in first gear up those hills. I'd been cranking up the hills in second gear. When I did switch successfully to first gear, the hills were a breeze. Or at least, more of a breeze.

Ah, Lord. I love your symbolic messages that you throw at me on such a regular basis.

When I am in synch with God, in line with His will and His power, it is like being in the proper gear. It feels effortless...or at least it doesn't feel like I am "kicking against the goad." The flip side is also true. When I am trying to climb the hills of life and am not correctly aligned with God, I am in too hard a gear. It is a struggle, and even at times, impossible.

But, and here is a BIG BUT, sometimes I am in God's will and it is still an impossible struggle. My afternoon with the clown bike led me to ponder a series of questions.

How do we get in gear with God? How do we know if we are out of gear? How do we know if the hill is worth climbing? What if the hill is so steep that even in first gear, we are struggling? Are we supposed to give up, or persevere? Did God put the hill there, or Satan?

So many questions. So few answers.

Like my bike, the gears with God are not marked. It is a bit of a guessing game. A steep hill is going to be hard to climb no matter what gear you are in, so having to struggle mightily is not necessarily a clue that you are in the wrong gear. It just might be a really tough hill.

As to who put it there...does it really matter? If you want to get to the end of the path, you are going to have to climb that hill.

I figured out I was in the wrong gear when I started shifting and realized I could only go up one more gear. If I were in first gear, I should have been able to go up two. A little trial and error, and logical reasoning was necessary. Once I knew how to get the tricky shifter into first gear, I was very confident I could tackle the hills without the consequence of major knee surgery.

IN the end, with the help of a long discussion with my good friend Gina, God showed me some important lessons through the gears of my clown bike.

1. If God gives us a hill, almost always we are supposed to climb it. If Satan gives us a hill, almost always we are stuck with climbing it. Anyway about it, we have to climb the hill.
2. If it is a really hard hill, God almost never removes the hill, but He gives us the means to climb it.
3. Very often, the means He has provided is right in front of us, right at our fingertips, but we miss it because we are wondering if we should be climbing the hill at all. Or we are crying our eyes out because we don't want to climb the hill. Or we are kicking the hill and breaking our toe. Anyway about it, we have to climb the hill, and God has equipped us to do so if we just open our eyes and stay calm and focused on Him.
4. If God didn't want us on the hill, He who created the universe could certainly remove it. If you are on a hard hill, trust God knows and probably put you there. It helps a lot to consider the hill as a destiny, not a disaster. Anyway about it, you have to climb the hill, and your perceptions about the hill can make it a dreaded chore or an exciting challenge.
5. You can't change the hill, but you can change your attitude and the gear you approach it in.
6. Climb the hill. And if you are too weary to bike up in second gear, downshift. And if you can't climb it in first gear, get off your bike and walk. If you can't walk, ask God to carry you.
7. When you get to the top, look back with amazement. I climbed that?? The view is spectacular and the breeze feels like angel wings beating against your sweaty brow.

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Job 5:19 He shall deliver you in six troubles: yes, in seven there shall no evil touch you.
Isaiah 38:17 Behold, for peace I had great bitterness: but you have in love to my soul delivered it from the pit of corruption: for you have cast all my sins behind your back.
Matthew 19:26 But Jesus beheld them, and said to them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Romans 5:3 And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience;
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?
Romans 12:12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said to me, My grace is sufficient for you: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest on me.
Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endures temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord has promised to them that love him.
1 Peter 1:7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
1 Peter 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you:
1 Peter 5:10 But the God of all grace, who has called us to his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that you have suffered a while, make you perfect, establish, strengthen, settle you.
Jude 1:6 And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he has reserved in everlasting chains under darkness to the judgment of the great day.
Revelation 2:26 And he that overcomes, and keeps my works to the end, to him will I give power over the nations:






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