Not a Walk in the Park

Crossroads Career Network

Last Sunday I planned to spend the day with the Lord. It was a sunny, 70-degree day in South Carolina so I envisioned a bike ride in a park, rolling along leaf-covered paths in the woods. Private time with the One I love.

I remembered a Greenway not far away. It wasn’t quite like walking in the Garden of Eden with Him, but it was close. I grabbed my bike and helmet.

It seemed simple enough, but . . .

The attendant at the trailhead said there were two paths for bikes. The east and west loops. East was shorter. She said it was for mountain bikes. I explained my bike was a hybrid – half mountain and half road bike. She thought it would be OK because I could always turnaround and come back. So into the woods I went.

Just like I imagined, I saw sunlight filtered through the trees dancing on the path. No one else in sight, it was quiet except for my wheels rolling through the leaves. Thank You Lord for this little journey with You.

Bump! That was a surprise. I looked down at tree roots poking up. The further I pedaled, the more bumps I saw, some of which I felt. Then, all of a sudden, I saw a 20-foot drop into a ravine, and the path disappeared into a tunnel. I stopped. Should I turn back?

“Hey, I can do this,” I thought, and down into the tunnel I went. I immediately saw light at the end with the trail inviting me into more woodlands. I kept riding up to a split with no signs. Another stop, but with a touch of fear! Which way to go? Am I on the edge of being lost? I guessed right, after which I found a marker confirming the way.

I cycled up a hill to find a very rough ride, and a whole lot less path. Turnaround? I pictured retracing the ravine and steep grade I came down. The attendant said this was the short loop. Maybe I should keep going. But how short is short?

I got off the bike and walked it through the tough terrain. The way ahead looked a little clearer, so I remounted and rode a few feet into a crash. Now I am on the ground with a close-up look at the leaves and roots. I slowly and carefully got up and onto the bike.

The trail seemed endless. I have no idea how long I was out there. I got lost a few times on the way back, found a wrong entrance, and my phone died. Then, all of a sudden, hallelujah, my entrance!

I did not actually hear angels singing, but I was happy and relieved to see my car. As I rolled to a stop, exhaustion and a little pain started. What began as a hoped-for, half-hour bike ride in the park with God became a test that I felt I failed.

I looked at my watch. The last four hours to be alone with the Lord was finished. And I was angry. As I was driving home, I was asking God…

“What was that about?”

Here is what I think God was saying to me…

• Brian, you loved me when everything was fine. But when the tests came, you forgot Me.

• You turned to Me only when you had no options, and this was supposed to be our intimate time together.

• Yes, I wanted you to go the park, but you did not prepare. You did not know the Greenway was 2200 acres with 40 miles of trails and the bike paths were expressly made for experienced mountain bikers.

• You did not have the right equipment, and you were not the right person for that bike trail. Next time, how about a walk in the park with Me?

• You got anxious and angry, instead of rejoicing always, praying without ceasing and in everything giving thanks.

• You need to confess, repent and receive My forgiveness and cleansing.

• You also need to learn this lesson…

“The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away.
Blessed be the name of the LORD.”
Job 1:21

Lessons for work life

I spend most of my work life thinking and praying about helping people take a faith-based, Christ-centered approach to job search and career development.

The first step is Upward, hearing and following God’s calling. As you move to steps two through seven, you are not to leave step one. God is the One that prepared all the steps. Do not forget Him, especially during rough rides on tough terrains.

Be prepared. Take the training and get the right equipment for the journey. Always do your homework before every outing.

Don’t expect it to be easy. Hard challenges make you grow and become stronger. Welcome adversity. Count it all joy. The testing of your faith produces endurance.

And let endurance have its perfect result,
so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
James 1:4

Any other lessons to be learned? Any trips you took that turned bad for your good? Any comments or questions? Love to hear from you

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