I’m currently training for a 160 mile bike trek across Cape Cod. I’ve never done anything like this before, but thought it sounded exciting and challenging. I was right. This past Saturday I kissed Missy goodbye, jumped in the saddle, and planned to pedal north for an hour. The pavement was typical of a Maine route: cracked and crumbling. The expected hills were easily identified and strategically tackled. The water bottles were refreshingly cold and tapped as needed. But within five miles I encountered a new force – wind.
There’s a difference between a breeze and a wind. A breeze can rustle the leaves on a tree while a wind can strip the leaves from a tree. A breeze can move a flag while a wind can move a house. A breeze is something I can create. A wind is something God can create. While training for my bike trek this past Saturday, there was a wind.
It was against that wind that I had finally reached the pinnacle of a notorious hill and was looking forward to enjoying the descent down the other side, but was nearly brought to a complete stop. On a slope that I’d previously recorded 30 mph while descending, I was pedaling to maintain 10 mph! That wind was far more intense than any resistance I’d previously encountered on my bike. Though the hills I’ve climbed have been extremely taxing, they were at least visible from a distance allowing me to prepare for the grade, the height, and the length. The wind, however, was unseen, unrelenting, and unpredictable. More than once I wondered if I ought to turn back, fight a different day. But I continued on, determined to succeed.
There are hills in my Christianity that I can plan for. Though the temptations can be extremely taxing, they’re at least visible from a distance allowing me to prepare for the grade, the height, and the length. But there is another force at work that is unseen, unrelenting, and unpredictable. Demonic powers seek to end my journey – to bring me to ruin. They don’t play by the rules. They attack when I’m tired, lonely, and vulnerable. They lie, cheat, and steal my dignity. I’m often brought to a melting point and wonder if I ought to turn back and fight a different day. Like my trek, I determine to continue and succeed.
Eventually the wind began to subside that day and I was able to continue my ride as originally expected. But I finished with new knowledge, experience, and pride. I had confidence for a new situation. I was stronger and more capable to handle the unseen and unexpected. Eventually, the attacks in my Christianity will subside and I’ll be able to continue my journey as originally expected. I’ll possess new knowledge and experience. I’ll recognize the grace God has given me and be more capable to handle the unseen and unexpected.