Tandem bike rides require a certain amount of faith in the other person. When we are up in front, steering the path and setting the pace, we feel more comfortable. We take Jesus along for the ride of life because we are Christians and want Him with us. Then one day we grow in our faith and swap seats, placing Him in front and hanging on for the big WhaaHooo!!
This is a precious thought to me as I have watched myself swap seats with the Lord. Well, in my mind anyway. He actually has always been in the front seat but I have not been so willing to sit back, throw up my hands in pure joy and rest in the glory of the ride.
In letting go of the worries of tomorrow I have found a more peaceful ride today. I have found pure joy in learning about the human body and the complexities of chronic illness and how we can possibly endure such an experience with joy and peace while maintaining hope. While I seek God’s ways to sustain this, there have been some bumps, tons of them.
In the beginning we need training wheels, we need our hands held. We cannot begin to even see the path, we are babies in our Christian walk with the Lord. Not only are the training wheels safe but they are appropriate.
“I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready.” ~ 1 Corinthians 3:2 NIV
We take the driver’s seat
After mastering the training wheels, some of us decide to grow up and get in the front seat. We assume we have enough faith behind us to put the Lord in the back seat. We still need His power and might peddling for us, but behind us.
The Lord can clearly see us going down wrong paths, peddling too fast or too slow at times, and not stopping along the way when we need to so we do not crash. He just sits in his “back seat” and provides some peddling for us, provides some comfort and company for the journey and patiently waits. He is even so loving that he provides miracles along the way, all while we have Him placed in the back seat.
We hit rocks in the road and take a few tumbles. We get banged up and bruised along our journey. We get back on the tandem bike, still in the front seat. We have the faith to know that if we just keep at it we will get “there.” We know that God is with us, we know that He is for us, so we just keep at it.
“What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?” ~ Romans 8:31 NIV
The pot holes and rocks in the roads get bigger and bigger and the falls no longer are scrapes and bruises, they are gashing wounds. We clearly know that God has the power to heal and fix everything so we keep the Lord with us on our long bike ride of life to clean up our messes.
We cannot imagine the ride without Lord. He is faithfully there with us, faithfully providing for our needs, keeping all of His promises.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:19 NIV
We take enough tumbles to see His faithfulness to us. We endure enough wounds to know of suffering and sacrifice. We can know with our whole heart and soul that He never leaves that back seat providing everything for us. It is in His provision that we survive every day. We take comfort in His presence while we keep spinning our wheels.
There is no doubt that there are times on this bike ride of life that we find tremendous joy, tremendous peace and we consistently find hope, all because of our faith in Jesus.
And yet, it still is not enough. How can Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior not be enough? That is sacrilegious to say such a thing, or is it? Show me the way Lord…
We finally give up the driver’s seat
Jesus Christ is always enough, but there is a but, sort of. When we finally give up the front seat, swap seats on this bike ride of life, get out-of-the-way, let the Lord do all of the steering and navigating, we find more of Him. So yes, He is always enough, it is us humans who get in the way of all He has to offer.
Jesus is always enough but we can tap into His resources and love even more, when we choose to.
“Jesus turned and said to Peter, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.'” ~ Matthew 16:23 NIV
As I think about this transition I see a greater hope, I see more adventure than I have ever known and even a deeper faith and relationship with the Lord. There will still be the bumps and bruises of this earthly experience called life. God has never promised us a smooth ride.
The bike ride we choose can never be smooth and perfectly comfortable. Jesus is here for us to lead us and care for us and love us through the bike ride of life, but He will not keep us from all the troubles of the world. He will always provide but He will not always protect in the ways we think. When we accept that, we expect the bumps and bruises and get on with it all with more ease.
As I have let go of that front seat, I have learned more about His riches that He wants to give me, even though I do not deserve them and I certainly don’t begin to understand them logically. The inheritance is there for the asking.
“If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” ~ Matthew 7:11 NIV
This website is specific to faith in Jesus while going through tough stuff like chronic illness, trauma, abuse, and the endless list of human experiences that knock us off our bikes.
Let’s accept the fact that many of us in this human experience will get ill, and be ill for a very long time with tremendous pain and suffering. Many of us will have abuse issues that either got us here or added to the physical problems. There just are some facts of living this life. This is about how we use those experiences, how we can grow through them, in Christ.
How can we take this bike ride with the Lord and let Him use it to glorify God? I can only speak from my experience and the experiences of what others have shared with me.
If you have not already accepted that Jesus is Lord, there is no greater place to start. Grab a Bible, find the New Testament and start reading. Grab a Christian and start asking questions, knowing that they are human not God, so we may not always have the correct answers.
“If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” ~ Romans 10:9-10 NIV
- Get on the tandem bike ride creating growth and movement,
- let the Lord be your best friend,
- take Him along everywhere you go,
- learn to rely on Him for everything,
- use the brain He gave you without dumbing down or numbing up,
- remember how much He loves you regardless of what troubles you face,
- and remember that the best way to get to know Him and His promises is to be in the Word of God daily.
- OR, skip step 2 and proceed directly to step 3 (I am a slow learner, always doing things the hard way, so I had to do step 2)
- Take a back seat on this tandem bike ride,
- get out-of-the-way,
- pedal faster when He says to, slower when He says to
- stop navigating,
- fearlessly take the ride,
- take your hands off the handles at times and surrender more fully to Him,
- learn more about His promises in the Word of God daily,
- grow closer to the Lord through relationship and the Bible,
- know that He will only take you on His perfect path that He has already perfectly created for you.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~ Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
This list barely touches the surface. We are so uniquely made that what is right for me is not necessarily right for another.
When I am supposed to be still, another should be fighting like the dickens. When I am supposed to pedal hard, another should sit back and enjoy the ride. That is why a relationship with the Lord is essential. He knows the exact right bike ride that we are all supposed to take and He will be there for all of us when we invite Him.
The ride of a lifetime
With Jesus is in the front seat our vision changes. We no longer care as much what is far down the bike path, we care more about today and what is right in front of us. This has helped me to focus on today and not so much about tomorrow, with keeping eternity in mind.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” ~ Matthew 6:34 NIV
For me, my vision had to narrow to blindness to be able to begin to see the width and depth of what the Lord has to offer while here on earth. For me, that meant that my health kept getting worse and worse. That meant that life-threatening diseases and situations kept piling on top of one another that kept narrowing my vision and my path until it all finally broke.
My body and spirit “broke” in a positive way. I could not get out of the front seat of this tandem bike ride fast enough. It was a good place for me to be for a while but now past due to move to the back seat.
I no longer have to be responsible for knowing the right path, the Lord knows the way and is the best navigator of all. WhaaaHoooo!!!
“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.'” ~ John 8:12 NIV
I no longer have to do all the peddling, Jesus has all the strength I need. WhaaaHoooo!!!
“…and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms,” ~ Ephesians 1:19-20 NIV
I no longer have to worry about all the worries, God already has taken care of the perfect plan and has all the details covered. WhaaaHoooo!!!
I no longer have to be afraid, He has my back. WhaaaHoooo!!!
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” ~ John 14:27 NIV
I no longer have to carry the whole load, my physical body is clearly not able to and I no longer have to think I have to do it, the Lord’s shoulders are plenty wide enough for it all. WhaaaHoooo!!!
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” ~ John 16:33 NIV
I no longer have to make this journey about me because of the intensity of it all, it is clearly about the glory of God. WhaaaHoooo!!!
I no longer have to think I am stupid or crazy, I have been given a good brain (sound mind) by my Creator who wants me to use it, for His glory. WhaaaHoooo!!!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” ~ 2 Timothy 1:7 NKJV
I no longer have to get caught up in all the details, I get to stand strong, raise my hands in praise and joy, raise my heart in complete trust and let God take care of it all. WhaaaHoooo!!!
I no longer have to think I am not good enough, instead I get to pedal hard when I can, peddle softly when I need to, or not peddle at all if I cannot, and let the Holy Spirit guide me through those decisions. WhaaaHoooo!!!
Staying off the worldly path
Sometimes we lose sight of the reality of our faith in God and our relationship with Christ, instead we get lost in human understanding and what others try to make out of our relationship with the Lord.
We have to find our own way, sometimes even tuning out what unknowing Christians have to say. In the Book of Job we learn about the ridiculous thinking of some “all-knowing” Christians. No, not all Christians have a clue what they are speaking of, not even the leaders of our churches will always get it right. When we can accept that, we can compare every word from man against the Word of God to find truth.
There is great wisdom in some Christians. There is even greater revelation of words given from others by the Holy Spirit for our benefit. It is our responsibility to wade through it, seek only truth, and let the rest go.
All of us Christians can share the back seat of the tandem bike, the unknowing seat and leave the all-knowing God in the front seat.
“Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.” ~ 2 Timothy 2:23 NIV
The perfection of the ride with Jesus
Okay, so Jesus is in the front seat of my tandem bike, what does this ride look like?
I can see some WhaaaaHoooooo’s going on. I can see more peace and joy. I can picture the Lord catching me when I get thrown from the upcoming bumps. I feel safer and more fearless.
As the Lord takes me down the perfect path, He stops at Mary and Martha’s house to teach me about fellowship with those who are so very different yet both loved. We get a nutrient rich delicious meal my Martha. We get to enjoy the nourishment of Mary as she gives so graciously of her attention. I get to see that nourishment comes in many forms and the “meat” of the meal are the words of Christ.
There are bends in the road that the long metal tandem bike cannot make. Jesus’ presence simply bends the bike to the needs of the moment without a pause of thought.
As we continue down the path, the Lord tells me to hang on but won’t tell me anything else. And He just keeps quietly smiling!!!!!
He takes us to Thomas to see the bravery in someone who speaks their heart in their doubt. I get to see how Jesus sees the bravery and not the doubt. I lean into the Lord’s vision and not the world’s. The Lord lovingly tells Thomas to believe, not scolding him. He sees Thomas’ growth, not his lack.
Back on the tandem bike with the Lord. This time he does some time travel stuff that even my friend Albert Einstein could not explain. I hang on for dear life, wind in my hair, blinded by the speed of light. We land at Job’s side in the land of Uz.
I get off the bike and want to punch Jobs “friends” in the face but the Lord keeps reminding me that not everything is as if it appears. I sit still, learn when to shut up myself and wait patiently as I watch the story unfold.
As God rebukes blameless Job, I can see the wisdom of God’s words, there actually is some blame. If God made us, who are we to question that?
We really are only dust and do not deserve a thing. God is everything and so far beyond what we can understand. Sometimes we just have to let things be and trust. Trust God’s Word as ultimate truth, not human words.
My journey with the Lord is starting to look quite different to me now that He is in the front seat. As I continue to attempt to get through the Bible every year, I get to take this ride with new eyes each year. I am learning to relax into the growing pains instead of dreading them.
“So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.” ~ Colossians 2:6-7 NIV
I am growing and learning. I am accepting that my life and ways look very odd to others. I am leaning into the fact that my life actually does make sense. I actually do have an explanation for my life and I can clearly see the love and grace of God in every step. I can see that I am not as articulate as I desire. I can allow that “it” is not about me, it is all about God. This ride has never been about me, it has always been about Him. What a glorious path to be on with the King of Kings.
Where is the Lord sitting on your bike, on your journey of life? Paint your own picture as you see it today …
Maribeth Baxter, MBNC (Certified Mind-Body Nourishment Coach)