Written by: Robert Hilkemann, Orange Ride
Wow! What a day! Yesterday I was ruing this day. Sunday was hot—strong, hot, southerly winds. The thought of 103 miles in those conditions was playing a head game with me.
This morning, we woke up to temperatures in the sixties and strong northwestern winds—Pinch me. Is this real! Indeed, it was. The ride that I was ruing suddenly became, How fast can I get this accomplished? People were talking about their personal bests for a century! Could I have my best ride ever?
I had volunteered to lead devotions this morning. I took the opportunity to tell the group about the historic nature of the route we would be taking through the state. We followed Highway 30 (The Old Lincoln Highway) and the route of the wagon trains as they ventured westward along the Oregon, California, Morman, and Bozeman Trails. The sacrifice, effort, and questions that the pioneers must have had as day after day they traversed the then unknown territory must have been great. During their own endeavors to get across, they explored new ways to improve the route for those who would follow them. Over the years, the improvements they made along the way shortened the journey anywhere from twenty to thirty days. I reminded the group that many of these early settlers had to rely upon their faith and upon God and lived with hope of a better future. These pioneers were known to sing along the way—hymns like “O God, Our Help in Ages Past, Our Hope for Years to Come.”
As I am nearing my end of this ride, I am grateful for this group of people who have come together to form a community just like the communities formed by the wagon trains. While we have the advantage of knowing exactly when a hill will begin and phones to stay in touch with loved ones, we still need each other to prepare breakfast each morning, pack our van, drive our SAG vehicles, help one another repair flat tires, and clean up our facility, so that it looks better when we leave than when we came. We have learned to work together. That is a wonderful lesson to move us forward in our journey of life.
We have learned that we all have stories, some more willing to share than others; we all have dreams. We are going to accomplish a goal, and we also relish the fact that we are helping make people’s lives better through our building efforts. Just like the pioneers before us, there is a purpose for us doing this ride.
I’m grateful I have been a part of this endeavor. Riding my bike across the country has been a long-term goal for me, and while I am not going all the way this year, I hope one day I will have a chance to finish this journey. If I don’t, I may end up like some of those pioneers on the journey who decided they had gone far enough—they decided to make a home in Nebraska. Many of those settlers did that. They started towns and communities across this great state that we ride through today. They left their mark and made lives where they were. I believe that is what God calls us to do—to thrive and minister right where we are, and to live in the present.
That’s what we did as a group today—we thrived and enjoyed the wonderful gift of cool temperatures, a marvelous tailwind, and smooth roads, and we road our fastest centuries ever. We relished today, because tomorrow is another day. Who knows what it will bring? That is how God is: He sometimes gives us wonderful days, so when the challenges come, we keep going because we know there are better days ahead!