Hence, the comfort bike.
After watching several jumps from a distance, they were finally sitting on their bikes off to the side so I thought I’d be cool, zoom down the hill, jump the ramp and then ride off into the sunset while their mouths were still open. I took off down the hill, pedaling full speed and just as I hit the ramp I suddenly had a rational thought: “This may not have been a good idea.” In a panic I squeezed my brake…but the wrong one: I hit my front brake, which made the bike flip over head-first. As if in slow motion I shot off the ramp upside down and landed flat on my back on the asphalt, still holding on to the handlebars with the Schwinn straight above me.
I landed so hard on my back it knocked the wind out of me. If you’ve never had the wind knocked out of you, don’t. It’s a terrible feeling. You have no air in your lungs and you can’t get enough in fast enough. It’s like dry drowning.
And of course all the kids circled me on their bikes and in between uncontrollable laughter managed to get out, “Are you okay?”
Sometimes things happen to us that knock the spiritual breath out of us. A death. A divorce. A pink slip. An accident. A loss of some sort. It may have been your fault or it may not have. Regardless, you’re gasping for spiritual air…and you can’t seem to get any in. Where are you, God? And quickly the temptation becomes seeing God as other than good. Doubts flood in faster than air: “Maybe He’s not good.” Or “Maybe He doesn’t love me.”
Tread carefully, friends.
Someday you may have kids and there will be times when, believe it or not, they’ll think you don’t love them because of something that happened…or didn’t happen. But of course it’s not true; it’s just hard for them to understand that.
So do you really think you’re more loving than God? Seriously?
In the end you simply have to get back on the bike again. Maybe you failed at something critical. Maybe you’re in deep need of forgiveness, or deep need to forgive. Perhaps the unthinkable happened. But faith by its very nature always involves some level of relational risk. And you may even respond like Peter: “To whom else would we go?”—caught between a spiritual rock and a hard place.
Never forget: you have a lot of road yet to travel. However mysterious and hidden the Kingdom of God may seem in those moments (à la Matthew 13:24-30), it really is advancing and needs you.
So get back on the bike. Ask God to give you a push. Trust me: you’ll soon find your balance. Chances are you’ll glance back and notice He was there all along.