“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Cycling is not my preferred method of transportation. Occasionally I find it invigorating, and even exhilarating, but rarely would I choose to cycle as I have also found it to be painful, monotonous, and way too sweaty. My husband, however, delights in cycling and in me and so, logically, he wants to experience both together. Which led us to our latest adventure: bicycling over 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West to celebrate my 50th birthday. We had the time of our lives. It was incredibly beautiful and wonderfully flat and I was gratefully distracted from the fact that I was seeing it all from the seat of a bike that I was pedaling for hours almost non-stop.
Honestly, this trip terrified me for months beforehand. I was nearly having panic attacks thinking about it.
But as I turned to God, I slowly began to hear the Lord’s heart about this trip and it was all good. Very good. So I decided to begin to trust God with all of our plans which involved driving 1000 miles, bussing half of Florida, biking 130 miles, taking a boat back to the start, and a myriad of details I wasn’t too confident about. What I learned was that God can certainly be trusted. When I am willing to forget about myself and entrust myself fully to the Lord, I can begin to see how very good God is. Control is our demon while Christ is truly our freedom.
We experienced so much joy and freedom and favor on this trip – more than I have ever experienced in my life. People, events, places, weather, nature, food, traffic, provision – everything seemed to work together for good and for our certain good. Strangers passing by gave us wonderful tips for the road ahead, directing us to hidden gems. Elusive manatees surfaced right next to us within arm’s reach! Manta rays glided through the gorgeous water as we rode by and beautiful birds soared through the pristine sky. It was truly wondrous.
My trust lesson culminated on the three-plus hour ferry ride back up the coast from Key West. It started out with a lovely sunset and turned into a choppy bad dream. I discovered that I could be warm and seasick below with 400 other people, or quite cold but breathing up on the deck. I tried both and opted for the second, sitting on the deck under a windscreen in a light jacket for hours, shivering in the dark, trying not to lose my cookies (really, I had cookies for dinner). I found that the very best I could do was to think of absolutely nothing, lean into my husband, and entrust myself completely to the Lord. It’s amazing how long a couple of hours can be. It’s even more amazing how faithful God is when you’re miserable but still willing to trust Him and allow Him to bring you safely into His harbor.
I also learned how frantic our lives are on a daily basis and how much we all need to come away and stop so that we can pay attention to what is beautiful and important and God. Biking, like walking, slows you down and helps you to see things more clearly. I appreciated the sun and sea and wildlife more up close. We met people we would never have met in a car: bikers stopping for a break; a jogger from Denver who needed a band-aid; a couple from England with a flat tire; Carolinians, Floridians, Minnesotans and Koreans fishing from the many bridges: a myriad of drivers in traffic jams; people from all walks and stations of life on their own journeys and adventures.
I realized that God is in the moment, in the meeting, in the scenery, in the touch, in the kind word, in the smile and pause and breath and pedal. God is here while it is now and stopping to discover Him in the now resurrects our lives wherever we find ourselves. This is “…living our lives in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”
Thankfull-ness. Now I am thank-full. I have been grateful, I have given thanks, but now I am full to overflowing in a way that only comes through trust. Trusting not in myself or others or my circumstances, but in the One whose love for us never fails. At home now, in the cold and snow once again, I realize that I am just as peace-full and joy-full as I was in the warmth and sunshine of the Keys. This is God’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes.