Posted by: Postordinandy | June 19, 2009

“Cycling with God”

Below is a rather old story, the author long forgotten, that seems to be appropriate to any of us exploring what God’s Kingdom might look, feel and taste like:

At first, I saw God as my observer, as judge, keeping track of things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there – sort of like the president. I recognised his picture when I saw it, but I did not really know him. tandem mountainBut later on, it seemed as though life was rather like a bike ride, but I realised it was a tandem bike, and God was in the back helping me pedal.

I don’t know just when it was that he suggested we change places, but life has not been the same since; God makes life exciting!

When I had all the controls in front of me, I had it my way. It was nice and predictable, but rather boring. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when he took the lead, he knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, through rocky places and at what seemed breakneck speeds; all I could do was to hang on! Even though it looked like madness, he simply said: “keep pedaling”. I was worried and anxious and asked “where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer so I had to learn to trust.

I left my boring life behind me and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say, ”I’m scared” he’d lean back and touch my hand. He took me to people who had gifts I had not really been aware of before. Their gifts took me by surprise, and I needed them: healing, acceptance, and joy. They gave me their gifts to take with me on my journey, our journey, God’s and mine.

And we were off again. He said “give the gifts away; they are extra baggage, too much weight”. So I did to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received and still our burden was light.

I did not fully trust him at first, when he took control of the steering. I thought he’d wreck it. But he knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, jump to clear high rock, fly to shorten scary passages. And I’m still learning to overcome my fears and preconceived ideas, and to pedal in the strangest places, fully trusting. I’m beginning to enjoy the view and cool breeze on my face with my delightful companion, God. And when I’m sure I just can’t cope with any more, he just smiles and says, “keep pedaling”.

The simple principle – that when we relinquish our control and ideas, and ‘hand over the steering’ to God our lives become less predictable but significantly more full of adventure – seems to be something we are being constantly reminded of at the moment. Things don’t always feel comfortable, or make sense – we get scared, confused and tired.

I can certainly empathise with the author – tempted to take the shortest, easiest, route between two points. But I can also honestly say that the unexpected twists and turns of the ‘delightful long cuts’ do make this life business more interesting and certainly more like a decent bike-ride with God should be.

And I love the metaphor of a tandem bike ride with God! It’s not simply a case of sitting back and letting Him do all of the work – we are a team, somehow each reliant on the other. Of course, often my personal experience is less like the picture above, and more like the one below – as I still try to wrestle the steering from God…

tandem wrong

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Responses

  1. Not seen this before.

    I agree with you that the “long cuts” are good. I think we were created to take the long way around. It’s not about the time it takes but more what you can do on the way. To learn, to play, to love, to enjoy. Our frenetic pase in London maybe stops us from doing some of these things.

    On another note… I am interested in your idea of us partnering with God. I think we need to be careful to not talk about our relationship with God to be somehow symbiotic – God does not need us in that sense does he? Perhaps it is more that God chooses (chose?) to create us to be in relationship with him – to tie himself into the arrangement with human kind.

  2. Hi Matt, thanks for your comments, as ever.

    You are right, of course, that we need to be careful when we use language about the working relationship between us and God. It was not my intention to state that this is a symbiotic, ‘equal partnership’ – simply to explore the complex idea that somehow God has chosen to ‘need’ us in some way. I think it was Teresa of Avila who said:

    Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
    No hands but yours,
    No feet but yours,
    Yours are the eyes through which is to look out Christ’s compassion to the world;
    Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good;
    Yours are the hands with which he is to bless men now.

    The important thing, I think, is to recognise that we are “in this together” somehow with God – that our role(s), passive or otherwise, have some impact. God is still in charge, still the routemaster & main mechanic, but we do more than simply hanging on & enjoying the ride.


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