Today was a 54 mile ride from Harvey to Carrington, North Dakota. How glorious it was! Yesterday, we had crosswinds for 74 miles. What a treat to have tailwinds for 80% of the ride today.
I mostly rode alone so that I could absorb the images of the landscape surrounding me. Yes, it is flat, which is a little bit different from the Colorado Rockies or the Washington Cascades. Instead of mountains covered with snow, pine trees reaching to the sky and rushing water, it is covered with miles and miles of tall grasses blowing in the wind on both sides of you with barns and fields of cows.
While riding, I always start singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands” inserting specific people or prayers into the song that I would like to pray for. After many miles of this, I focused on the landscape and the wind. We are completely at mercy to nature and what it offers us.
While comparing the crosswinds and the headwinds yesterday to the tailwinds of today, I started thinking how these winds parallel our journey through life. There are so many times when everything is flourishing. Things in your life are going well and your relationship with God could not be better. This is much like those tailwinds. As they continually push you forward on the right track, you experience sheer joy.
As you make a turn, you face crosswinds. These are winds that may push you off course and are sometimes difficult to endure, especially for long periods of time. Your relationship with God is tenuous. However, you have the will and determination to just keep on moving forward. At times, you look at those that are experiencing tailwinds and wish you were with them. Unbelievably, you start feeling a different kind of joy. You look around and notice those cows, the tall grass, the chirping birds and the glorious sky. Your slower pace gives you more time to appreciate the creations which are before you.
You make another turn and you run into headwinds. These are the toughest of times. You are pushing yourself to your limits just to inch forward. You are determined to keep on going. Stopping is not an option. You wonder if God is with you. Sometimes these headwinds are short-lived, but other times they seem to last forever. You do not pay as much attention to God’s creations but realize that the wind itself is one of His creations. Throughout your journey, even though you are moving forward ever so slowly, you grow significantly. Your trust in yourself, your confidence in yourself and your faith in God is ever present. Once you reach your destination, no matter how far and long it takes to reach it, you are exhausted but overjoyed.
I was going to bike from Williston, North Dakota to Burlington, Vermont. However, I hit a couple of crosswinds. My medical challenges are keeping me from riding on. I felt like I was a quitter. I am not only leaving the trip itself, but my Fuller family, the relationships with the community of those places we stay and the projects on which we will be working.
But whether I continue with the crosswinds, make a turn into the headwinds or make that turn into the tailwinds, I do know that I will eventually be back with Fuller next year.