When I began training for my bike ride across Wisconsin, I made a sort of covenant with myself. I decided to ALWAYS finish my ride by biking up my drive. Because of its length and incline, it’s no small matter to navigate it following a long ride. As a matter of fact, it is so steep, I typically get to 25 mph at the bottom when leaving. Because our road slightly declines away from our house, I can coast for the first 1 1/4 miles of a ride.
Once, at the conclusion of a record (then) 43 mile training session, my mind was negotiating with the rest of me to conclude the ride by walking up the drive. Lungs heaving, sore seat, tight back, numb fingers and rubberized legs…”Yes, we’re gonna walk up”, I concluded.
As I turned onto the road in front of our house to finish the last 200 yards of the trip, I passed two women and one man on a walk. I hadn’t seen them before, but after exchanging pleasantries, I prepared to turn onto the drive, get off and walk up. Just as I began to coast to a stop and swing my leg over my bike to begin walking, the trio of ‘strangers’ began to chant, “Go. Go. Go. You can do it. Don’t stop. Keep going. Finish” and other similar encouragements.
I appreciated their enthusiasm, but I was a little uncomfortable. Instead of being able to coast to the end, I now had to forcefully finish under the subtle ‘pressure of their encouragement’.
Sometimes our walk with the Lord is similar. We feel like we’re in a place where we’ve had to work, tough it out, sacrifice or give up something of value. All we really want to do is coast, sit down to rest or maybe even give up. We arrive at the moment when we’ve chosen to just stop only to find two or three faithful friends urging us to “Go…go…go! You can do it. Don’t stop. Finish.”
Their encouragement may not always be welcome or seem appropriate. And the gentle pressure might even annoy us, but it is what God has prepared for us in those uncertain moments. As He says in Hebrews 3:12-13: ‘See to it, brothers, that non of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness’.