Tuesday, June 10, 2008

In front of our book on the shelf...the first time Deanna got to see one of our own in a bookstore!

Years ago I was an avid bicyclist. I have spoken of this before. I was most dedicated to the sport and would spend hours each week training and preparing my body to be able to handle the difficulties that could come.

Now granted, most of the difficulties came at one's own desire. You had to choose to take on the long rides, or hilly courses, or competetive natures of other riders. To me, these were all givens, and I wanted to be the best I could.

I usually rode for an hour and a half per night, three times a week and then did longer rides on the weekends.

This was not leisure riding. I was pushing myself. There was a measured threshold under which I would not allow myself to drop below. If I did, I climbed out of the saddle and began to push.

I learned much in those years. I learned how to stay in a relaxed posture in tense and tiring situations. This would prevent me from cramping. I learned to drink before I was thirsty. If I waited until thirst came over me, I was already dehydrating. I learned how to ride at high speeds a couple of inches off of the wheel of the person in front of me. This cut down on my own physical exertion by around 25-30 percent. I learned to jump over potholes at speed. I learned to climb the most difficult of hills or mountains by using good technique, being mentally strong, and being fit.

Through the years, I saw many fail at this last point. I loved to climb. Because of this, I would enter group rides where climbing significant hills or mountains was the goal.

It became rather easy to tell those who really invested in the sport and prepared themselves physically, and those who thought it would be fun to do and showed up with little training.

One of the key indicators of this latter group occurred on difficult climbs, or after long miles on less difficult ascensions. Regardless, the result was what we called "lactic acid leg lock."

A rider would be doing their best to get to the top, when all of a sudden, their legs would quit working, and they would simply fall over on the side of the road.

I don't know the appropriate medical way to explain what happens, but it has to do with not getting enough oxygen to the muscles. Over time and exhertion without adequate training, these riders who tried to push themselves in these moments would accumulate lactic acid in their muscles, and when the ratio eclipsed a specific point and there was not enough oxygen, the muscles would lock into place, rendering the person incapable of their use...until it dissipated!

When this happened, the rider would be overcome by surprise, as their leg muscles were suddenly and momentarily paralyzed and they would simply fall over.

The muscles would rebound after a few moments of forced inactivity.

I saw this scare many riders through the years. It was accompanied, as you can imagine, by pain.

Today, I am seeing a vaguely similar issue. On a fairly regular basis, I see believers blame the "Lord's will," for the outcome of their own poor choices.

Our Father gets the credit for many things were not of His volition or doing. Many of us have learned to use the phrase "God's will," in conversation with others. Too ofen we use it to reflect an outcome that was contrary to what we desired.

There are certainly times when the Lord's plan is different than our own. There are times when the outcome is contrary to what we may have chosen.

But, what we must be more cautious about, is failing to do the work before us, which we have been called to, and then assiging blame for the outcome on our Heavenly Father, when the reality is that we were lazy, and did not get to see the fulfillment of our calling, because of it.

When we are called to do what the Lord wants, He does not change His mind mid stream. His calling is secure. Our role is obedience. Sometimes that means we have to do more work than we may be comfortable with, in order to see what He desires come to pass.

Frequently, these days, it has become commonplace for us to superimpose our own agenda over a calling we have been given. When the two conflict, we do our own thing rather than that which we have been called to (because we want to and because it is usually easier). Along the way, we tell others that it was "God's will" that we not get to do or be involved in something that five minutes ago, we told them He had called us to.

God gets the black eye and we skate unscathed.

It's time to stop this foolishness. We need to get out of the saddle and push. God's will is seldom a thing that short sprints will achieve. We are in this for the long haul.

Our time and training need to reflect the same. We cannot quit because things get uncomfortable. A friend of mine frequently says, "there is no testimony without a test."

Too many of us quit when the test begins.

Training is a long process that prepares us for greater things. We need to approach our relationship with Christ with preparation and willingness to train for long periods. Then, when the tests come, we are ready, and we have the privilege of bringing Him Glory!

No other agenda matters when God's Glory is at stake!

Let's ride!



At 8:48 PM, Blogger Marti Pieper said...

I love the picture. Someday, He may allow me that same privilege!

I understand and agree with what you share. I know that a watchword in our parenting has been "let your yes be yes and your no be no." A mutual friend says that we need to encourage our children to surrender, not commit--that today's generation makes multiple commitments and then chooses between them.

I'm not sure the issue is confined to the current generation, but I do know the problem seems to be increasing. I don't know just how to identify it, but I do know its source, and (even better) the Solution.

Jesus, help me to choose wisely those things to which I surrender myself, my time and my desires. Let me show by example that my life is fully surrendered--to YOU.

praying in pink
with tender love,


At 3:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

WOW--this was one of the most personally appropriate blogs I've read in a long time. David and I have noticed that commitment among today's students seems to be non-existent--Christian students included unfortunately. My fear is that non-Christians who are watching see no difference in themselves and the Christians they are watching. It is so painful to see God "blamed" in many situations. Another comment used by believers is "I don't have a peace about it"...what does that mean? It's a cop-out Christians love to throw around. I agree with Marti also, let your yes be yes and your no be no. If you commit to something, be true to your word. Thanks for putting it so eloquently. You Awestars will be in my prayers continually in the next 6 weeks! May God be honored by each of you and your work.


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