• Stefan Youngblood

My Life As a Biker

Hey Friends

I spent the past weekend at the Men’s Retreat in the mountains. On the second day I decided to take a long bike ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway (on my mountain-bike). I parked my car on the side of the road, called my sister to let her know I was gonna conquer the Blue Ridge Parkway, grabbed some water, and took off. Within the first hundred yards I was noticing all the beauty, but trying to find an easier gear to shift into. By the second hundred yards I was wondering why I thought I could take a bike out of my garage after 2 years and ride it 12 miles. By the third hundred yards, I had a number of thoughts. Should I stop and check my blood pressure? Does 911 work at this elevation? Maybe this wasn’t a great idea. And…Is that a sign for a Visitor Center I see ahead? Even the side road up to the Visitor Center seemed like it was on a steady incline. As cars rode by me, I started wishing I had some sort of rope they could tie to their back bumper and pull me along. (hey, it’s possible).

When I finally reached the soaring altitude of the Visitor Center, I stopped, walked inside, and tried to think of questions I could ask them. (I called my sister too, who laughed and reminded me that I had only been riding for 20 minutes. I didn’t‘ laugh, and let‘s just say that the phone on my end somehow just lost the connection) The guy at the counter noticed that most of my questions had to do with up and down. I actually asked the guy, “So which direction has the most…downhill.“ I knew this sounded ridiculous, but I also knew I would never see him again. He started talking about “vistas”, and “look out points”, but all I was thinking was valleys, and water fountains. Seeing the sweat now dripping off my forehead he said, “Go north.“ Well that sounded like a trick to me, because isn’t north usually up? Anyway, I took his advice, and after a bit more climbing, things started leveling out. I thought to myself, “Hey, this biking stuff is easy.“ I suddenly felt…in shape. I felt… “one, with the road.” All of us bikers know that feeling. Then the downhill. Yes! “God is good,” I said to myself. “All the time” I replied. I coasted effortlessly, for miles. I sped over bridges, past barns, railroad tracks, and small ponds. Now this is what I’m talking about. (BTW, I hear that I actually flew past Doug and his friend, on the side of the road with a flat tire, but I was going so fast I never noticed them.) After a while things finally leveled out. And then…I started uphill again. My mood changed. My smile left. I was feeling blessed just a little while ago. (Does that ring a bell? Life changes on a dime sometimes)

I kept riding and actually had an amazing time. At one point I stopped just to see how quiet things got when I just stood still. I need to do that more often in life, by the way. Well, finally I turned around, and headed back toward my car, which was miles away at this point. I did think a few times, “I bet a Park Ranger could give me a lift, if I really needed a ride.” Incidentally, Doug did actually hitch a ride because, he “had a flat tire.“) Soon, I found myself thinking, “there’s no way on earth I’m gonna get back up that big hill. Well…I did. And you will. (and no I didn’t walk the bike back up).

As we journey through this Easter Season, I realize, my hill doesn’t compare to His hill. And I know you have some hills of your own. I simply want to say, “God is with you. He is for You. What He brings you to, He will see you through.” He conquered His hill to give you hope as you face yours. And when you get tired, He says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” “My power is made perfect in your weakness.” You are never alone my friends.

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