Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us. Hebrews 12:1
So I hang out with a bunch of exercise enthusiasts. My husband and daughter are sports physical therapists, and our son and daughter-in-law are physicians. And then there’s me…. the church lady. It seems that every time I turn around, someone (other than me!) is running a mini/marathon, cycling a century, or training for a triathlon or half ironman. As I write, my daughter just flew out to CA to head to Tahoe with her brother and sister-in-law to train for the Boulder Half Ironman later this summer.
And then there’s the cycling group of friends that Mark and I ride with every Friday evening. Of course they are all physical therapists, who do multiple forms of exercise DAILY, so the rides we do on Friday evenings are a leisure ride at best for them. I, on the other hand, do my quiet yoga several times a week and walk the trails around the neighborhood, but about Wednesday I start getting anxious about the Friday ride. You see, while they’re having meaningful conversations along the ride, I’m sucking wind, big time. The new rule is that you can’t ask Libbie questions during the ride… cuz I have no air to respond!
Now if you know anything about Colorado, there’s a few inclines out here that can be challenging in the least… well at least for some… like me. It feels as though I’m pulling 2 times the weight when I hit the incline. My legs have to work twice as hard to push the peddles forward to keep my bike upright and moving forward. I shift into an easier gear, put my head down, and persist to the top of the hill. Along the way, though, I am ever so tempted to just get off the bike and walk. “It’s too hard,” I tell myself. I can’t breath fast enough. My legs aren’t strong enough. I can’t do this.
But just when I think I can’t pull this weight to the top, along side of me will come my husband, or one of the other cyclists, cheering me on. “You can do this, you’re almost there, be patient, keep steady, let the bike work for you, you’re doing great!” Of course at the time, I’m not believing a word he tells me, but before I know it, I’m at the top, feeling like the weight of the world is behind me! Cruising down the other side of the mountain is such bliss. With the wind in my face, I feel as light as a feather! Ahhhhh!
When I ponder the text today from Hebrews, I believe the upward climb on a bike is is the very physical component to carrying the burden of sin, worry, and fear of the unknown. It can become so heavy, that I can’t help but think that I can’t go on. The burden is too great for one to bear. And then Jesus comes along, and says, “Keep going! Come to the top of the mountain and lay your burden down.” “Don’t give up!” I hear God calling, “I’m right here.” So I believe we are called to persevere in seeking the blessings of God – the wind (of the Spirit) in our face and the gentle Spirit-push from behind.
God calls us to persevere in all avenues of our lives – through the good times in our lives and the tough stuff; because God knows the reward for us – a persistent God who in return loves us no matter what – In spite of our shortcomings; in spite of our desire to give up and give in; in spite of how heavy our load; in spite of our inability to fully trust. God knows us and loves us for just who we are.
For me, that’s sobering. To know that God’s perseverance does not necessarily involve taking the burden from me, but rather God’s perseverance is riding/running the journey right next to me. Cheering me along the way, loving me, encouraging me, showing me I don’t have far to go. And most of all, assuring me that I’m not going it alone.
So my friends, let us lay our burdens aside, and ride with Perseverance. She’s right alongside us. peace. prL
Dedicated to my Friday Cycing friends.