Pedaling through the downhill

by DanWolgemuth on April 16, 2010

April 16, 2010

I’ve long embraced the necessity and corresponding valor that comes from working hard while cycling, particularly when headed up hill. The burn in the thighs, the heaving in the lungs, the wrestling match with your brain… all have inspired and propelled me. Consequently, I’ve lulled myself into believing that if riding up a hill defines me, then riding down a hill rewards me.

When the incline is in my favor, I’ve resolved that it is intended to be a license to glide, to coast, to relax, maybe to breath. And while all of this is possible, I’ve begun to believe that peddling through the downhill is important and substantial.

A lackluster downhill can cause you to lose your rhythm, to squander your focus, to misplace your resolve. Coasting can lie to you. It can make promises that a long-term journey simply will not deliver. Coasting can make you proud of what you didn’t accomplish.

This lesson forced me to confess that as with cycling, so with life. If crisis galvanizes my resolve, than good times have a tendency to allow that resolve to rust.

What if… when times are good, when things seem to be going my way, when the hill is leaning my way, I pedaled harder? Would I find a deeper sense of purpose and plan? Would I learn to know my Father in a richer, more exhilarating kind of way? Would I know His lavished and extravagant grace in more compelling and humbling ways?

What if I pedaled through the downhills? What if coasting wasn’t God’s idea at all.

Maybe the downhill is where the enemy does the bulk of his work. Could it be that Satan, unable to extinguish our inferno, lulls the coals into harmlessness by convincing us that the need for fire is over? Complacency is certainly in his arsenal.

"…I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me." ~ Philippians 4:11-13 (ESV)

The Apostle Paul acknowledged that he had learned "the secret"… in plenty and want. Note… he didn’t say that he had learned to work himself into exhaustion on the uphills and coast himself to sleep on the downhills. He pedaled in both situations… and so should I.

I want more of Christ… both uphill and down.

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