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Points to Ponder: Lost for the Moment? Enjoy it.
Points to Ponder
Lost for the Moment? Enjoy it.
It was our first bike ride of the spring season. A beautiful spring day. Elizabeth (11) takes the lead, Joanna (6) follows; then I fall in behind. "Let's explore that road we didn't follow to the end last year," Elizabeth said. It was Gift Road, which starts as asphalt then transitions to dirt and protruding rock. Joanna being new to the two-wheeled bike, bounced to a stop on the downhill. She fell over, but recovered well. Elizabeth, meanwhile, followed the road to the end. When Joanna and I arrived, walking our bikes, I pointed to the now visible Potomac - we were at the C & O Canal towpath. For them, a new discovery!
Having ridden bicycles over many years, I knew their little legs only had so many miles of power in them. But, they were up for it, so we went left. On and on we rode the path. I knew we were getting farther and farther away from home. Plus, if there was no other access point, we would have to go to Williamsport before we could turn toward home. That would be six miles, in addition to whatever we were racking up on the way. Fortunately, they did not realize this.
They were good sports about it - until the swarm of gnats met us. Big ones, too. We had to stop and brush them off our legs and arms.
Then the whining began: "I want to go home."
After about a mile, there was a dirt path across a field and leading to black top road. I sent Elizabeth to scout it out. There were no signs or familiar landmarks. I remembered back when I got lost for the first time. I was about Elizabeth's age and size - and riding the gold bicycle which she now rides. (It had been my first bike, which my parents gave me for Christmas over forty years ago.)
So I proudly declared: "Hey ... we're lost!" There was a moment of stunned silence, so I added, "Isn't this great!" The wise older child inquires, of course, as to why this is a good thing. I pointed to her bike and said, "That bike and I did this a lot ... it's an adventure." I looked at my watch and said, "We've got about three hours before sunset to find our way home ... Yay!" I figured we were on Bottom Road, but I wanted to enjoy the uncertainty of it all. Though I had years of experience and fairly good discernment for figuring out where I was, I wanted to see this time through their eyes. It was a totally new experience; a strange place with no clue on how to get home or how long it would take to get there.
It's often the "not knowing" that throws us into a panic. Can you recall moments in your life's journey when you were at a point that had no familiar landmarks? How would you get out of that fix? How long would it take? Which way should you turn?
The whining to go home transitioned to an occasionally-mentioned request. The girls seemed to follow my cue and took on the challenge. Elizabeth rode on out of sight; then she'd wait for Joanna and me to catch up. I observed the girls' behavior during this wilderness experience. Elizabeth would go on and explore, then report what she saw. Joanna, who started out from home unable to mount her bike without me holding it steady, now was saying, "I can do it." On one long hill, after we'd stopped, she got on her bike and took to climbing it the rest of the way.
In the two hours since we had left home, both girls had adapted to the journey and its demands. Joanna, in just one afternoon, became a much more competent and assertive cyclist. How could they do that?
It's the same way you and I do it when we're traveling through life's unfamiliar, challenging terrain. They did not dwell on all the dangers and risks, and things which could paralyze them with fear. They trusted their dad.
I had declared it an adventure - so it became just that. If I had said we were in trouble, they would have felt that. I bore the burden of the unknown for them. All they had to do was follow my directions and ride well.
Have you entered a fearful time - a place with no familiar landmarks? If you will realize that your Heavenly Father is with you on this trip, you can let Him bear the burden of the unanswered questions. In His company, life is a series of adventures.
"Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you. I will uphold you with My righteous right hand" (Isaiah 41:10).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.
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