But other people exist… About halfway through the ride, I encountered a guy on roller blades and ski poles. He was obviously getting ready for the snow that will soon be here – either a cross-country or downhill skiing aficionado.
We approached each other from the opposite direction. We first saw one another from a good distance away and were aware of each other. Here’s what usually happens. Both parties drift a bit to their right to make room for both parties to pass by one another. That’s what usually happens.
This guy kept to the middle of the paved trail and, with his poles extended horizontally, made no effort to make room. His ski pole hit across my arm and chest. Pretty hard. Thankfully, it wasn’t the point that jabbed me. It was the circular part toward the bottom called the “basket” as well as the shaft. It stung. And I almost fell off my bike. And I yelled things. The things I thought about saying were worse than what I actually said, which included, “Hey! Give me some room, will ya?! Nice!” That last bit was pure sarcasm.
So the perfect morning bike ride had become something less than that. About 45 minutes later, we met again. I was returning to Boulder and he was returning to wherever he had come from. Again, we saw each other from a good distance away. This time, he moved to his right and kept his ski poles to himself. No words of apology. I managed to say, “Thanks for the room, buddy.” And yes, there was more than a hint of sarcasm dripping from those words.
The struggle to live as a child of God is constant. We must always be on guard against the unholy three of Satan, the world, and our own sinful nature. Even simple interactions such as these are fraught with danger to the soul (and body). Last weekend’s message regarding the full armor of God supplied by God’s 24/7 grace (Ephesians 6:10-20) is still on my mind. We can’t let down our guard. Ever. We’re at war. The stakes are high. It’s winner take all.
I can’t get enough of Paul’s encouragement just before he describes the armor of God: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.” (Ephesians 6:10) What the word actually means is “be strengthened.” It does not say “make yourself strong,” as though we can somehow make it happen – we can’t, spiritually speaking – but he is talking about being strengthened by someone/something else, namely “The sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)
So, to the Word we go. Lord, fill us with your Holy Spirit and lead us to greater faith, hope and love.
Pastor Stephen Luchterhand