“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.” Colossians 1:10-12 NIV
As I read the above scripture, it reminded me of a big event that comes to the state of Iowa every year at the end of July. RAGBRAI will start this coming weekend and this year’s route takes bikers within three miles of our house. (For those of you who have never heard of it, RAGBRAI stands for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride across Iowa.)
This is the 44th year for the ride and what started out as a couple of hundred riders has now grown to approximately 10,000 bicyclists. These brave souls don their riding gear and pedal their way across our great state. This year the course is just over 400 miles with various overnight stops planned in small towns along the way. Fairgrounds, city parks, and private lawns are filled with brightly colored tents the riders bring along in support vehicles.
These riders always amaze me with their athleticism. In my wildest dreams, I can’t imagine riding a bike that far. I can only guess at the months and months of training they put into this ride, building up their endurance so they can complete the ride. They seem to be prepared for anything—breakdowns, injuries, and inclement weather. Anybody who has ever been to Iowa in July knows this can mean just about anything—scorching heat, 90% humidity (or so it seems), rain, hail, tornadoes, and flooding. That in a nutshell is weather in Iowa in the summer.
As I hear about these bikers preparing for their ride, I can’t help but compare their training to the life I should lead when living out my Christian faith. How often am I prepared for the storms that come my way? Do I work on my faith endurance like these RAGBRAI riders do physically?
Every day on the news we hear about more and more tragedies and horror in our world, and it doesn’t look to me like it’s going to change any time soon. But then I think—we’ve had a pretty easy ride—at least I have since the days when I was a kid. Life in general went along pretty smoothly, except for the usual bumps in the road. The state of the world didn’t really concern me a whole lot, even as I got older, because the trouble was all…over there. But now it’s hitting closer to home more and more often.
I’ve often wondered if God is giving us a wake-up call to change our ways and get us back on track. I know I’ve let the ways of the world influence my thinking way too often. Is God knocking us out of our comfort zones to move us into action? I think so.
If we could heal our divisions and come together as one, we can endure this storm together…and what a beautiful ride that would be.