Pride, Humility, Teamwork, Grace
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.”
-Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)
Pride. In my second year at the Kansas City Bike MS, an annual fundraiser for the Multiple Sclerosis Society, I had confidence going into the race knowing that I’d completed it the year before. “One hundred and eighty six miles in two days….no problem,” I thought. “I’ve been training all spring and summer with over 2,000 miles already accumulated on my bike. What’s another 186?”
Humility. The weather was crisp as I pedaled down the lazy country roads leading me to my destination. The sun peaked over the horizon, warming the air and silhouetting the hundreds of cyclists participating in the event. It was the perfect start to the day…until mile 40. I started to cramp—first in my right calf, then in my left knee. I tried to stretch while pedaling, but my quads locked forcing me into survival mode.
Determined to ride my first “century” (100 miles in one day), I slowly and painfully completed the first day hoping the worst was behind me. It wasn’t until I woke up the next morning that I realized my legs had not fully recovered. As I tried to mentally prepare for the 86 miles back home, I started to contemplate the possibility of not finishing the race. I was forced to look outside myself for strength. “Lord, may Your name be praised this weekend. I can’t do this on my own. I need You.”
Teamwork. In cycling, the wind is your greatest enemy. As my Bike MS team grouped together to fight the 15-25 mph headwind on the second day, my legs wouldn’t allow me to keep up with their pace, leaving me to battle the wind alone. Seeing me struggling and falling behind, one teammate came back to help. He strategically positioned himself beside me, blocking the wind and allowing me to catch back up.
Grace. My teammate stayed by my side and coached me through each hill, each change in wind and each time I thought my legs were going to give out. As I crossed the finish line, the Lord spoke to my heart through this endurance feat. I couldn’t rely on my own effort to get me through the grueling 186 miles, but the Lord gave me strength. I didn’t earn it. My teammate didn’t have to sacrifice his time to help me through each painful mile, but he did. I didn’t deserve it. God didn’t have to sacrifice His son, Jesus, in order for me to know Him…but He did. I didn’t earn or deserve it. What a perfect picture of God’s grace.
1. What happens when you are pushed to your limit?
2. Who or what do you rely on when things don’t go as planned?
3. Have you experienced a picture of God’s grace?
1 John 4:9