I suspect there will be much to say about my week in Colorado for the foreseeable future.
But before I make any attempts at doing so, I want to thank each of you for taking your precious time to read my posts. My hope is that you have found a universal thread or two – something in the story that resonates for you. You certainly don’t need to be a cyclist to come along on this journey! This blog is mostly about the more universal journey of life. All of us have hills to climb, valleys to trudge through and summits of celebration.
It strikes me that there are really only three ways to climb a hill.
First, we can resent the amount of work and suffer through it – wishing we were somewhere else. Second, we can accept the challenge, pace ourselves and do our best. Third, occasionally we’re pleasantly surprised to find that we’re flying up the hill. Resentment, acceptance and surprise. Isn’t this a condensed picture of life? The challenges are there: It may be health, finances, a key relationship out of whack. Sometimes our journey just feels burdensome, and we can’t shake the lead out of our legs. Will we respond with resentment or acceptance? Will we make room for delightful surprises? These are questions all of us ask along the way.
In the gap between what I think I can do and the hills that seem to defeat me is something called grace. Jesus climbed a very steep hill to offer himself as the full payment for my defeats. While I struggle with wanting to quit and run away from the climb, Jesus chose to stay and complete every inch. This is GRACE: I’m not measured by my own effort, but by his. This is the SURPRISE: that grace delivers not only patience and acceptance, but also the delight of ascending in his strength. Grace carries us.
It is a fitting epilogue to say that I take no credit for completing this ride of long climbs. It’s tempting to chalk it all up to determination and creative management of my resources – discovering inner strength, and all that kind of stuff. Except, I know myself too well, and I’m just not that strong. I’m more content to take on the hills in the certain knowledge that Easter is coming. My savior’s climb killed him, but he was raised up out of darkness and death on Easter morning. For followers of Jesus there are many Easter mornings – expected and delightfully unexpected.
Grace is bigger than the hills.