Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Why Ride?

When people learn about the Renewing Spirits Bicycle Tour, they often ask me "Why do you want to do that?" There are many answers. I get to travel and see 4,000 miles of beautiful country at 15 miles an hour. I get to spend eight weeks with Mary, the love of my life. I expect to meet many wonderful people and maybe one or two who aren't so nice. But this ride has distilled down into two crystal clear answers for me. To paraphrase Eric Liddell from Chariots of Fire, "When I bike I feel God's pleasure." And "When I serve people at Pine Rest I feel God's pleasure." The pleasure in the riding is in enjoying the gift of being able to ride. The pleasure in serving is in doing God's will and being used in his healing ministry.

I look forward with eager anticipation to the bike ride. I truly enjoy bicycling, even when it's cold, windy, rainy and I'm exhausted. There can be satisfaction and yes even pleasure in completing the most grueling ride. At other times, riding is an elegant thrill, rounding curves rolling along flat roads and yes, having the wind at my back. I often consider riding a spiritual experience. Feeling God's pleasure means feeling blessed in all circumstances, grueling or exhilarating.

In much the same way, most days (but not all!) I look forward with eager anticipation to go to work. Some of the people I have the privilege to serve have life situations that are grueling and painful to an extreme. Some times I have the privilege to witness the thrilling and complete resolution of a stressful problem and release of a person or a family to a full life. God is present here too. So why ride? For both reasons. I hope to be blessed by the ride in and of itself. However, if I can also raise support for the work of Pine Rest in Iowa, I will be doubly blessed.

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