Saturday, July 05, 2008

Get Thee Behind Me, Jesus

I learn a lot about God from my friends.

Once or twice a month my friend and I go on a long bike ride. As a considerably weaker rider, I lag behind a lot. I feel bad sometimes, holding him back, but he puts up with it because he's a really good friend.

I've noticed that when he gets too far ahead for me to see him, I develop a sort of learned helplessness. I realize that no matter how hard I pedal, I'll never catch up, and I automatically slow down. These periods are a little disheartening, yet restful and comfortable.

After a few minutes, I'll see him riding in circles up ahead. I mutter a few expletives, mourning the loss of my rest and comfort. Then, I'll ride up along side him, and we head off again.

The other thing I've noticed is that when he really wants to push me, he forces me to lead. Somehow, having him behind me, being responsible for setting his pace and mine, makes me want to stretch myself to the limits. I don't become Lance Armstrong, mind you, but the speed and effort is beyond my comfort zone.

Where does God fit into all of this?

Looking back on my life, I see that often when God wanted to move me from one stage of my life to another, he put me in leadership. Being responsible for setting goals and visions for other people, for hearing from God on their behalf, for encouraging them, stretches me. It also in those times that I feel closest to God.

The other trend I see is that when God wants to move me out of a period of stagnation - often prolonged by months or years of searching for God's will - he forces me to make a decision. Rather than leading and daring me to follow, he dares me to lead and promises to follow.

It reminds me of Moses, with whom I often feel an odd kinship because of his fears and insecurities, and the roundabout route he took into his destiny. God called Moses into the realization his potential and out of a 40-year-old comfort zone by putting him in charge of a whole nation of people. God made him the leader of the most daring and dramatic escape ever.

Thinking about all of this proved a pleasant distraction on the bike ride. Seeing God use a friend yet again to reach out to me made me even more grateful for the amazing people he has placed in my life.


Post a Comment

<< Home