A while back I broke down and bought a comfort bike. It’s a clever marketing name for bicycles for old people. For nearly thirty years I had a yellow Schwinn 12-speed…the kind with the super thin tires made for racing though you never did. And a microscopic seat that after a mile on the trail made you feel like you’d gone down the twenty-story Wedgie-O-Matic waterslide at the water park. Plus, you’re hunched over like Quasimodo. Hence, the comfort bike. Some years ago I was riding my trusty old Schwinn when I came upon a subdivision under construction. At the bottom of a hill some kids on BMX-style bikes had placed a sheet of plywood on some concrete blocks and made a ramp that they were flying off. Naively, I thought, “That looks like fun. I bet I could do that.”—momentarily forgetting that I was no longer a kid and had a bike that should have been in a museum. After watching several jumps from a distance, I thought I’d be cool, zoom down the hill, jump the ramp and then ride off into the sunset while their mouths were still open. I headed down the hill, pedaling full speed, and just as I hit the ramp I suddenly had a rational thought: “This may not have been a good idea.” In a panic I squeezed my brake…but the wrong one: I hit my front brake, which made the bike flip over head-first. As if in slow motion I shot off the ramp upside down and landed flat on my back on the asphalt, still holding on to the handlebars with the Schwinn straight above me. I landed so hard on my back it knocked the wind out of me. If you’ve never had the wind knocked out of you, don’t. It’s a terrible feeling. You have no air in your lungs and you can’t get enough in fast enough. It’s like dry drowning. The kids circled me on their bikes and—in between uncontrollable laughter—managed to ask, “Are you okay?” Sometimes things happen to us that knock the spiritual breath out of us. It may have been your fault or it may not have. A worldwide virus shuts your church down and wipes your finances out. A death. A divorce. A pink slip. An accident. A loss of some sort. And now you’re gasping for spiritual air…and you can’t seem to get any in. Where are you, God? Quickly the temptation becomes to see God as other than beneficent. Doubts flood in faster than oxygen: “Maybe He’s not good.” Or “So this is what He's really like.” Tread carefully, friends. Someday if you have kids, there will be times when, believe it or not, they’ll think you don’t love them because of something that happened…or didn’t happen. Of course it’s not true; it’s just hard for them to understand that. So do you really think you’re more loving than God? Seriously? In the end you simply have to get back on the bike again. Maybe you failed at a critical leadership decision. Maybe you hit a ramp too fast. Maybe you’re in deep need of forgiveness, or to forgive. But faith by its very nature always involves some level of relational risk. And you may even respond like Peter: “To whom else would we go?”—caught between a spiritual rock and a hard place. Never forget: you have a lot of road yet to travel. However mysterious and hidden the Kingdom of God may seem in those moments (à la Matthew 13:24-30), it really is advancing and needs you. So get back on the bike. Ask God to give you a push. Trust me: you’ll soon find your balance. Chances are you’ll glance back and notice He was there all along.
Question of the Day: As a leader, is there a “bike” you need to get back on again?
Dave Workman | ELEMENTAL CHURCHES