A group of us left from a middle school parking lot for a 55+ mile ride through Dutch Fork, SC. On this particular route, which changes slightly from week to week, we would be doing some small hill climbs but everyone knew that at about the half way point there would be a long climb, one that is fairly difficult.
As I started up this long climb my mind kicked into "hill-climbing" mode, which if you are a casual rider like me and ride where there are a lot of hills you know what that means. It means you find a comfortable gear, try to relax and you just pedal. You don’t focus on the size of the hill or the length because it can be intimidating, you just ride little chunks at a time. You try to make it to the next mailbox, then the next pothole, so forth and so on.
Our life as a believer is the same at times. Sometimes we are going “downhill” and all is easy and life seems great — we are thinking God is great. Other times life sucks and we are stuck going “uphill” for what seems like forever –and we think God, where are you?
During those times of “uphill” climbing, when we can’t see the top of the hill or what’s around the corner, we have to focus on the little things, the little victories. During the times when we don’t understand God’s will for our lives, we have to keep doing the little things that we know fit into His plan (praying, reading His Word, being generous with our money, being kind to our neighbors, etc…) There are things that we can focus on as we climb the “hill”. And when we get to the top, we can look back and be amazed at how far He has brought us, even though the climb itself was hard as crap.
The happiest I think I’ve ever been during a ride was at the end of my first "long" ride. It was a two day, 180 mile ride from Columbia, SC to Charleston, SC. I remember crossing the finish line into that High School parking lot, with all of the people standing there, and thinking I am just glad to be through it, I don’t think I could ever do that again. But the funny thing is, since then, I’ve done much harder rides. I can look back at that first long-ride experience with pride not disdain. Not because I broke any land speed records but because I fought hard to finish and didn’t give in. It was extremely difficult but finishing it gave me the confidence to strive for even harder rides.
What we go through in life can either defeat us or give us the confidence, once we’ve fought through it, to strive for even greater things. Pray and let God help you through the tough times, not because he will make them magically disappear, but because, when it is over, He can show you how to use the experience to better yourself and those around you.