Originally posted Nov. 17, 2013, at Confessions of a Teenage PK. Republished with permission of the author.
I’m not a normal person. Most normal people would say to themselves, “I don’t bike ride very often. Maybe I should bike a little before I try to go cold turkey on an 18-mile bike ride.” I’m an incredibly busy person, and so I hadn’t been on a bike in probably two months. When the time came for our service organization’s “Ride for a Reason Event” in which we all got sponsors for our ride, I was totally freaking out! I got up a few minutes early that day and looked up some Bible stories on strength. I was well aware that I didn’t have the strength to get through the 18-mile bike ride by myself, and that was before I knew about the wind that I would be up against one-third of the time. I was comforted at a bright 7:00 in the morning by the familiar stories of Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach and Abendnego. (Or if you speak Veggie Tales, “Abeng … Aben … Benny.”
From the moment I woke I was praying for strength and endurance. Eighteen miles is a long, long. long way. Anyway, I got to school to register other riders, and we all listened as the fantastic people that started organizing the event gave short speeches. Then we all hopped on our bikes. Here is where the story gets really interesting. So it has been pretty windy here lately, and yesterday was no exception. (Quick shout-out here to the incredible Anna! She totally could have finished 20 minutes earlier, but being the wonderfully amazing human she is put up with my incredibly slow pace!) We started the race riding into the wind. It was not fun at all. Let us skip about 16 miles to the last two miles! I was quite tired by this time. We had biked 16 miles and I was so proud of myself — not going to lie. I thought, “Oh yeah, I can do these last two miles.”
Until we yet again turned into the wind. I was pushing so hard, and my legs kept giving out on me! I was begging for God to take the wind away, begging and begging, but he didn’t. Not only had I been pedaling for 16 miles, not only was the wind in my face, but there is a hill — No, a mountain — as you crossed the railroad tracks as you came back. It is easy to look back now and say God gave me the strength to get through it, but there was a moment as I was pedaling with all my might and I wasn’t moving. I was on this incline and I wasn’t entirely sure that I was going to make it over, or if I was going to roll backwards. I then prayed, as my dad likes to call it, the shortest prayer ever, “GOD!!!” The next thing I remember is finally being over it, but my journey wasn’t over yet. I still had a good quarter of a mile to get back to school.
Isn’t life like that sometimes though! Just when you have gotten through the super-rough event you look up and there is still another half mile ahead of you. Your legs are killing you more that you ever thought they could, your hands ache from the death grip you had on the handle bars, and frankly your butt is on fire, but you still have road in front of you!! I mean how much does that suck!
My friends, let me tell you though. I did it. I road 18 miles raising money for cancer research, I rode 18 miles for one of my dear friends’ grandmother whose birthday was yesterday and who passed quietly this morning, and I rode 18 miles in memory of my grandmother who died after effects of radiation from ovarian cancer which metastasized to a brain tumor.
Another thing I learned about God helping you through rough times is that it still hurts. Let me tell you my body today hurts so bad today. I woke up this morning and it took five minutes to gather the strength to pull my aching body out of bed so I could walk to my parents bedroom to take two Advil. My heart still aches for my Nana; two weeks ago I was in the first show she never got to see. My heart aches for my friend and his family at the loss of their amazing grandma and the hurt they are going through.
God helps us get through. He never says it will be easy; he doesn’t say it will hurt less. Actually, he says it will hurt more! In the passage we read in church this morning Jesus actually says, “they will lay hands on you and persecute you … all on account of my name” (Luke 21:15). God promises to be with us, and to give us strength — for you can do anything “with God who gives [you] strength” (Philippians 4:13).
So take it from a girl who worked her butt off riding 18 miles yesterday cold turkey. God can do anything. He can help a weak little girl bike 18 miles without any training. God is there to help you pedal through the rough times in your life. He is there to get you through the last half mile after you’ve gotten through one of the largest obstacles you have ever seen.
May God bless you with his constant presence in your life.