Yesterday spelled out another important lesson for me as I was riding my bike. It is amazing how many little lessons of life a man can get on the road particularly if you mix it with a bit of Scripture. With the time change allowing me a little more daylight and the weather change allowing me a reprieve from the cold grips of winter, I have gotten back into getting in shape again. One of the drawbacks with bike riding is that during the short days of winter, the bike is relegated to hanging from its ceiling hook in the garage. During this time of inactivity, the bike and the rider generally begin to deteriorate. The changes with the bike are far more subtle than the changes in the rider. The rider reflects the inactivity with slowly increasing weight and rapidly decreasing lung capacity so that when the bike is finally engaged again it takes a bit for the weight to come off and the breath to return.
Although a little weight is starting to drop and the breath is coming back, I am still not in the shape that I was at the end of the summer a couple of years ago. But in time, I have all intentions of being back at that weight and shape that I was a few summers ago.
Yesterday around mile 17 or so, I was pressing along at a pretty good pace through some of the rural farmland around Wicksburg when things got incredibly exciting. I had just climbed a long, long hill of at least ½ a mile and had leveled off and was just getting my speed up to around 19-20 mph on a flat when a large surprise came bounding out of a yard. I was just past a nice brick house that had a long driveway but to my great dismay, the gate was open. A large (as in huge) Doberman Pinscher was running that driveway for all he was worth and just about 5 yards behind him was a German Shepherd that was only a bit smaller than the Doberman. Both of them were barking and yowling and sincerely thought they were about to chew on some part of my soft anatomy.
My heart-rate went through the roof and adrenaline began to pour from everywhere as suddenly the threat of these dogs gripped me. I begin to try and get my foot out of the clip-in pedals that I use but I could not get my foot loose. With bike wobbling all over the road because I was jerking my foot to get it dislodged, the Doberman is gaining on me in all of his hideousness. I determine that I am not going to get my foot out so I reach down and pull my water bottle from its holder and squeeze off a jet of green Gatorade in the direction of this huge beast. I am utterly amazed at the results! The Doberman puts on his brakes and screeches to a stop because apparently he is afraid of my little water bottle filled with Gatorade.
With my overactive imagination, I had already seen the outcome of the matter. I was going to go down because I couldn’t get my feet out of the clip-ins and two dogs were going to devour me while I twitched in the road. They were going to tear me from stem to stern and all sorts of blood, bone, muscle, and gristle would be for their taking. That was what happened in my mind all in a racing stretch of about 25-30 yards that they chased me. However, my little water-bottle, a .99 cent job from Walmart kept the beast at bay furthermore it kept him off of me for the day. Amazing how such a simple solution was at my fingertips and I was trying my best to figure out how to defend against something that was threatening me.
Far too often both in physical and spiritual life, we are prone to look for the huge and complicated solutions to help us with our dilemmas when in actuality all it takes is a .99 cent water-bottle. Far too often men are constantly looking over the proverbial fences at the greener grass on the other side. It is a myth that the greener grass is always on the other side of the fence.
What happens is that a whole lot of life gets lost because of our belief that we are insufficiently prepared to do what God has called us to do. I have to confess that on yesterday I thought of several solutions for me and the dog for our next go around. Pepper spray or mace or a few other things that could be added to my arsenal to help me when the fact is that on yesterday I had exactly what I needed to get the job done.
I encourage you to believe that you are exactly where God wants you to be. If you weren’t then God is big enough to move us to where He wants us to be and He can get you “there” if He needs to. Otherwise, let the joy of contentment bring great blessing to your life and start believing that you are sufficiently prepared by the grace of God to fulfill exactly His will.
• If you don’t have much to spend, then spend well what you have.
• If you don’t have many books, read what you have and master them.
• If you aren’t where you want to be spiritually, physically, and so forth, spend a day writing down some goals of where you would like to be this time next year.
• Learn the value of borrowing (and returning) resources that will make you a better man.
• Re-read your books, your sermons, your Bible studies and take notes from them there is still much to harvest from them as they grow.
• Re-pray your prayers, your visions, your dreams, your desires, and let faith rise in your heart.
• Don’t let what you may not have ruin what you do have! Look for opportunities to be great in the challenges of life be they miserable conditions, resistant people, or rocky roads.
• Study your soul for it is the most difficult study you will ever undertake.
• For those in ministry, look for the older men to convey wisdom and experience to you. Just listen to them. Look for the younger men so you may add something to their experience with God.
• Don’t let the interruptions frustrate you, take them and use them to help your soul to grow. Far too many allow a “stepping-stone” mentality cause them to miss out on the day because they are so focused on the journey.
• Look for ways to express appreciation, to accomplish great things, and outrun the dogs that will do their best to bring you down.
Go ride and don’t let the Doberman’s of life fill you with fear that you are not sufficiently prepared to do the will of God.