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The Ride

By Shari Barr — July 20, 2016

“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.

racial harmonyHe wants us to come together and decide what’s really important in this life. Is it financial security and material possessions? Or is it showing love for our neighbors and our enemies?

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.

About Author

Shari Barr lives on a farm in southwest Iowa with her husband and they have a grown son and daughter. Her most recent fiction titles include four "McKenzie" books in the Camp Club Girls series for middle grade girls.

View all Shari Barr posts.

(10) Readers Comments

  1. July 20, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Beautiful analogy, Shari! I do think we're getting a wake-up call as many of us have become complacent, and we get focused on our own little worlds. Thanks for this, Shari!

    • Shari Barr
      July 20, 2016 at 9:52 am

      Thanks, Brenda. I just think God's trying to get our attention and it's working for a lot of people I think. It's just sad that it's had to get this bad. Now we need a nationwide/worldwide revival.

  2. Dawn Ford
    July 20, 2016 at 9:31 am

    Oh, Shari! We had RAGBRAI in town a few years ago and it was crazy getting in and out of town. I'm sending you some patience. It is something to witness, though. And I think you're right. I think Christians have had it so easy here in the states that we've grown a bit passive and have taken on some of the characteristics of the world. It's up to all of us to exercise our faith.

  3. Shari Barr
    July 20, 2016 at 9:56 am

    Dawn, we've had RAGBRAI in Clarinda a couple of times. Though they're not on the route this year, Shenandoah is and we'll be working at the Cattlemen booth on Sunday. My cousin's husband from Washington state is riding with a group and plans to stop and say "hi." I'm looking forward to that as I've only met him a couple of times. And, yes, we need to exercise our faith and speak up and act in this crazy world.

  4. Kav
    July 20, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I can't imagine riding a bike 400 miles!!!!! I'd rather walk it. But it must be a sight to behold. And yes, I think we've all been given a wake up call. We really have to commit to looking outward more. It's hard to do sometimes, but this ol' world is in dire straits if we don't.

    • Shari Barr
      July 20, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      It really is a neat sight, Kav. RAGBRAI has been through our area before. I agree that we need to make a commitment with ourselves in order to change this messed up world. It will be tough, but if enough people work at it, it can happen, with God's help.

  5. Joleen Thornton
    July 20, 2016 at 4:18 pm

    May He say good and faithful servant. Run the race of endurance with perseverance, that's marked out for us. Ahh, thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement. Very good!

    • Shari Barr
      July 20, 2016 at 7:01 pm

      Thank you so much, Joleen! Good to see you. :)

  6. July 22, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    What an inspirational post, Shari. I like the sentiment, too, to come together. Neat photos, too. Thank you.

    • Shari Barr
      July 22, 2016 at 12:42 pm

      Thank you, Amy.

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