Great Expectations

Written by: Mark Murphy

I wasn’t sure what to expect on my inaugural Fuller Center Bike Adventure, but for some reason I knew whatever was going to happen God figured I needed it.

I retired from HP last summer and decided to immediately start working on my “bucket list,” and a bike ride across the country was featured prominently on that list. In the fall I met some guys at a century in Southern Georgia sporting Fuller Center gear and the hook was set!  I was really excited about the Fuller Center’s mission because it tied so closely with my previous experiences leading a non-profit that helped homeless working families break the cycle of poverty.

I filled out my paperwork in December and almost overnight it seemed to be time to head to San Francisco.

My experiences with the FCBA cross-country trip have been nothing short of phenomenal.  I’ve met some of the nicest and most genuine people while crossing this great land, both ride participants and the loving churches that have supported us on our journey. The ride itself has been very physically demanding (and this from a guy that rides 5,000 miles per year)  and I’ve learned I can play with the “kids” (20 & 30 somethings) for a day or two but after that my 58 year old legs need to recuperate. I powered through the Sierras, completed a testy little 103 miler, and this week will log my first 500+ mile week. I’m testing the limits of my endurance and so far my report card is good.

One of my big goals (worries) of this trip was to be around others of faith for an extended period of time. After my divorce five years ago, I didn’t feel quite right in churches or around religious people. If I’m being honest, I was disappointed in God after losing my 32-year marriage. I hoped being around fellow Christians and spending plenty of saddle time alone in the desert would help me regain a more balanced perspective. While the heavens haven’t parted, and I haven’t heard Him speaking to me directly, I can report that much of my spiritual discomfort has subsided.

My wonderful girlfriend, Ellen, gave me a journal for my trip with a Bible verse for each day, mileage countdown, and fun facts as we enter new states. In it she wrote a foreword that still brings me to tears, let me share a bit of it: “My prayer for you along the way, is that you embrace every second, breathe deeply, and savor each new sight and sound. I also pray, dear one, that mile by mile you find healing for your heart—for those parts that still hurt. I hope that you will reconcile your relationship with God in a new and lifechanging way…that you will see His provision, forgiveness, and great love for you as you pedal across our great country.”

I think it is happening slowly but surely!!

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