There’s a lot of talk going on about preparedness, and I won’t downplay or dismiss the wisdom of thinking ahead, but with an omniscient God who’s concerned about the condition of our heart, His preparedness plan often looks different than ours.
Sometimes it looks like a bike.
One year, “out of the blue,” I got this idea to ride my bike to work every day. I prepared by having a bike rack installed over my rear tire so I could hook a side bag to it and carry work home. I also attached a headlight to the front of my bike and flashers on the back for the times I’d ride home in the dark.
My well-thought-out goal propelled me into the new school year with anticipation. What I didn’t anticipate, however, was God having His own goals to slow me down and remind me to pay attention.
First, He invited me to pay attention to the scenery surrounding me on my daily ride. At some point, I’d stopped looking around and no longer admired the beauty of His creation.
Next, God asked me to pay attention to the way my body worked and enabled me to ride each day. At some point, I’d forgotten how to breathe, and I criticized more than admired the perfect way God had created me.
Once I’d connected with the external, God was able use the slower pace of bike riding to focus on the internal, starting with my mind. In the quiet, spacious places He asked me to listen to the clamoring negative voices I’d accepted as truth. At some point, fear had become the predominant communicator, silencing the still small voice of my heavenly Father.
The rhythmic motion of the bike pedals, the fresh air, my steady breathing, the sights and sounds of nature, the unhurriedness, and the tranquility were all part of God’s plan to speak to my heart, and for the first time in my life, I became keenly aware of His love for me.
This awareness was vital to surviving what lay ahead—a future I couldn’t have guessed, much less prepared for.
But God knew what was coming, so He planted this seed about riding my bike to work every day. Over that year, He heightened my awareness, He strengthened me, and He wooed me.
He made room in my heart for more of Him so that when it felt like circumstances shattered my heart into a million pieces, I knew and trusted and spoke and listened to the One who’d hold it all together.
God didn’t keep me from the terrible things that happened, but from the very beginning, He had a plan in place to prepare and carry me through it.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Psalm 139: 5-6 (NIV)