For those who know me know that I am an avid mountain bike rider and my home away from home is the trail at Sly Park Reservoir. I have ridden that trail for almost 20 years. The other day I went on a ride and that should have been routine but it was different. My rides tend to average about 60 minutes but this one was longer, when first saw the time I thought it was because I’m a bit out of shape but that wasn’t it. The reason that particular ride took so long was because I took my time to soak in all of God’s glory in that awesome place and it reaffirmed how that trail as become my private place of worship and prayer.
I have turned to this trail (weather permitting) for stress relief, as an antidepressant, to vent my frustration, to celebrate life and as I said before to get some alone time with the Lord. Because I’m so familiar with the trail I can ride it without thinking in a sense. This allows me to speak and pray to God and work out whatever issue I may have or to thank Him for whatever blessing he has bestowed on me or my family. At first this was awkward for me because of my preconceived mentality was that the only place to pray to God was kneeling in a temple with your head bowed. But then I remembered how Jesus came to the earth to liberate us from such binding ways of prayer and clear the way for us to have an intimate relationship with God.
Thinking about the ride also reminded me about this verse: The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. (Psalm 23: 1-3). This verse symbolizes that trail and my life. I say this because even though I’ve learned every turn, hill and dip that the trail has and every once in a while I’ll see a new vein that someone has created. I let my curiosity get the best of me and it ends up either becoming a dead end or an awesome new hill that gets my adrenaline pumping. In life I have veered off the main trail of life sometimes finding dead ends or crashing into a tree, but I have also discovered wonderful fulfilling experiences that helped create the God loving man I am today.
Another example of how this verse and trail intertwine is an incident that happened many years ago on the trail. I was being foolish and careless and punctured my tire, I didn’t have a patch or an extra tube and I was at the most desolate point of the trail. After muttering a few expletives I sucked it up and started the long walk to the main entrance. A couple of minutes into my walk a father with his two sons caught up with me and offered to fix my tire I gratefully accepted their offer and after we patched up my flat I was on my way. A few minutes later I came up on a hill and with a little make shift jump at the end of it. My machismo got the best of me again so I flew down it and caught some significant altitude, crashing down into the not so soft dirt. I only had some scrapes and scratches but that same tire was flat again. I again started to push my bike to the entrance but this time I was near the campgrounds. While walking another Good Samaritan came to me and offered now to give me a ride in his truck to the main entrance.
Reminiscing about these experiences showed me that God never abandons us and is always looking out for us. Yes we forget or take advantage of the times he helps out of life jams but he’ll be there with his truck to take us to the promise land.