Archive for October, 2013

Creeks and Tender Feet

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

A while back on our way to Nett’s Grocery near Fly, Tennessee, we rode a new bicycle route which was picturesque almost beyond words.  For miles we followed a shaded country lane adjacent to a crystal clear creek. Pedaling past flocks of wild turkeys, hay fields and dilapidated barns we were cooled by God’s air conditioning – a gentle breeze coming off the babbling water. As our peloton sped down a steep hill into a scenic valley our testosterone rushes hit new heights.  We felt as close to flight as men can experience without leaving the ground.

After a time we sensed that we were a “bit” lost and stopped to check our position. Our navigator broke the bad news that none wanted to hear. Yes, we would have to turn around and “charge” back up the hill in order to get on route. Oh the moaning!  Then Bob suggested that the road just a stone’s throw away on the other side of the creek would take us to Nett’s and eliminate the hill. Initially there wasn’t much interest in fording the creek, but as we considered the alternative the decision was made to go for it. Not wanting to ride the next thirty or so miles with wet feet, we removed our shoes and began to walk (or more accurately tip toe) through the water while pushing our bikes. Trust me you have never seen or heard anything quite like the quasi macho men of “Team Flomax” moaning, groaning and even cussing a little as all of those lily white feet slowly and delicately traversed the rocky bottom of the stream.  Eventually we all made it across with no harm done. Unfortunately, creeks often meander; meaning that in this case we rode about a half mile and had to cross again. Oddly enough, with crossing number two there was more laughter than moaning.

Our group was a cross section of professions. We had an architect, CPA, capital manager, healthcare VP, structural engineer, manager, journeyman   and a pastor.  Each one a success in his field; guys who can bicycle over any hill in Middle Tennessee; yet, could barely make it fifty feet barefoot through the creek X 2.

Two thoughts:  Life is chocked full of surprise creeks that  will attempt to spoil our ride and steal our joy. We can choose to cross them one step at a time or retreat.  Second, everybody has “tender feet” — hidden weaknesses, but those weakness can’t hold us back if we are willing to walk through the pain to the joy. As we relaxed at Nett’s recounting our journey, we realized that the painful crossings of the creek were in fact the very highlights of our ride.

Something to think about

More Often Than Not

Sunday, October 20th, 2013

  Over the weekend, I was in line at McDonalds and the woman’s order in front of me totaled $5.21. She handed the clerk a ten and then said “I’ve got the twenty-one cents”. For some reason I pretty much knew what would happen next.  As the clerk stood there holding the ten, the woman began to scrounge around in her purse. She twisted and contorted herself as she dug deeper for the elusive coins. The clerk rolled her eyes. The guy behind me sighed a bit. A little girl toward the back said, “Mommy I’m hungry”. Me —– I just smiled because I knew I had a good story in the making. As the line grew longer the woman started taking stuff out of her bag and placing it on the counter — a mini umbrella, a wad of tissue, a bottle of hand sanitizer, a cell phone and a huge key ring with a picture of a golden retriever.  At this point I remember thinking, “Gee, I wish I had thought to time this search”.  The guy behind me started to pray. At least I heard him say something about God. The stoic clerk looked our way and silently mouthed, “I’m sorry”.  The hungry little girl began to cry. I thanked God that in my old age He has given me some patience and a sense of humor.

The truth is when we go for “fast food” we expect to wait. That is part of the experience. But when it comes to God we expect his train to run on our schedule. Yet, more often than not He keeps us waiting. God is rich in wisdom.  He always has a specific reason for His delays. When I’m waiting on God I’m tempted to help him out a bit.  That always involves some degree of me taking matters into my own hands. My bad — always! Be still in the presence of the Lord, and wait patiently for him to act. Psalms 37:7 (NLT) In other words He never needs my help.

While waiting on God our sole responsibility is to trust. That’s it, nothing else — trust. Here’s what I’ve discovered from a lifetime of waiting on God: The longer God takes to give me direction, the more He has to teach me. Never forget that usually you have to wait for anything worthwhile.

Something to Think About



Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

I’ve learned another critical life-lesson while riding my bicycle. As a point of information, many bicycle riders wear special shoes that are attached to the pedals via a clip system.  The advantage is that bike shoes make the pedaling much more efficient. The disadvantage is if you don’t get at least one shoe unclipped fast enough when you are coming to a stop, the  result is an embarrassing spill while still attached to the bike. Trust me this is something you don’t want to have happen for a couple of reasons.  Skin and asphalt aren’t designed for real close proximity, but more than the physical hurt is the emotional one. A grown man dressed in Lycra falling over on a bicycle is not at pretty sight and certainly not at all ego boosting.

Early on in my riding career a friend told me that he finds bicycle riding to be a metaphor of life itself. I have found that to be true. Just like the fact that all bike riders will take spills, that same truth is mirrored in life itself.  In other words in life everybody will “fall” some. Here is some of what I learned during and after one of my more public falls: I was overconfident. I had ridden so many miles without falling over that I had become complacent. I had gotten to the place where I no longer had a healthy fear of falling. Carelessness was the direct cause of my spill.  I no longer thought it could happen to me.  I didn’t keep my guard up.

During the time just before the fall I made some poor choices. Instead of taking care of business and doing the things I knew to do, I panicked. In other words all the way to the tipping point, I knew what to do. I had the skills; I could have taken control, but I didn’t.  I nearly took my riding partner down with me.  Had that happened, he would have been an innocent victim of my mistake.  Yep, bicycle riding is indeed a metaphor of life.

All that was learned was not negative.  While lying there on the pavement in downtownFranklin,Tennessee, still fully attached to the bicycle with God knows how many eyes glued to me, I realized that the spill was not nearly as embarrassing and ego wounding as I had visualized.  All I really had to do to put it behind me was get up, laugh and start pedaling again.

Something to Think About.


Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Like so many others over the last twenty or so years, the phone call came out of the blue. It was a desperate cry for help — a matter of life and death. The call was from my friend Tim who is 6’3”, strong as an ox with a heart to match. Tim’s call was to request prayer for his beautiful four year old, Samantha, who was critically ill and facing emergency surgery within the hour.  Her infection was spreading so rapidly that the doctors were afraid that she might not survive the surgery; however, without it she would surely die. I felt both Tim’s frantic fear and boundless love for Samantha as he described the situation with a voice cracking with emotion. I promised I would pray for Samantha; I did as soon as I hung up the phone. For some reason I felt like things would go well.

Reflecting on the call I realized that only a man of great faith and dependence on God was likely to make that kind of request. It suddenly dawned on me that, during the call, not only did I sense Tim’s pain and fear but I felt his enormous faith. The call itself was God honoring and humbling for me. Later in the day I thankfully learned that the surgery was successful and that Samantha would be OK.

Were prayers responsible for Samantha’s recovery?  I’m not in a position to say.  Will it change this story to tell you that Samantha is a Miniature Schnauzer and not a little girl?  I hope not because the Bible says that doesn’t change things with God.

Philippians 4:6-7 Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.