This morning I got on my Peleton bike for a ride I had planned through cyberspace with a fellow teammate. I had joined a six-week challenge with a group of riders who were dedicated to our Lord. There were hundreds of them, thousands even. Different denominations and time zones, ages and sexes. But in this six-weeks, we were all on the bike for Him- united in our purpose to grow in our fitness journey and in our faith.
I had planned to do a ride “out of order” and posted in our group on Facebook to see who would join me. The same gal that had joined me for a ride last week, raised her hand and volunteered to join me this week. I was excited, thinking that I wouldn’t be alone, riding in the early morning hours. The teams are designed to place “hands on your back” as Instructor Christine D’Ercole would say, and certainly I felt that I would have one.
I got on the bike, GU down the throat, a swig or two of water, towel across my handlebars and ready. I looked over at the leaderboard and noticed another member of our team had joined, but I didn’t see my “friend.” I was sad and disappointed.
We had made plans, I thought to myself.
I was disappointed and felt alone on the bike, but I was determined to push through. Some encouraging words; I needed to do a spiritual “remodel” and remember my purpose- to get better, to ride the race that was set before me, to focus. Still, I couldn’t help but think of my missing “friend.”
I received many high-fives on that leaderboard, even some from another teammate of mine who was riding. But nothing compensated in my heart for my “friend” and I wondered if she was ok. Had she abandoned me? Was something wrong?
The high 5’s kept coming in and I felt stronger. I embraced the hands that were on my back. I was riding stronger than ever, listening to the instructor’s cues and remembering my purpose.
By the end of the ride I was inside of it. The leaderboard seemed to disappear. I was joyful, even too much so. And then came that teammate of mine with more high-fives, the encouragement that I needed. I took it, not feeling so abandoned anymore.
I jumped into a quick stretch and yoga class and decided to post about how phenomenal the ride was. In fact, it was the best ride I had ever taken. I hoped my “friend” wouldn’t be offended, but at least I had that other teammate of mine on the leaderboard and hoped she would see my message.
A minute later I saw my “friend” respond.
It was so great riding with you! Thank you for inviting me!
It was in that moment that I realized that the lady who was high-fiving me was my “friend.” I hadn’t realized it was her. I had mixed up her leaderboard name with her “real” name, and I realized that she was there the whole time…
And isn’t that just like God? When we think he abandons us, He is right there. We sit and we wonder, Where are you Lord, I need you, when in fact He was right there walking beside us, and our eyes simply were not open.
Today if you cannot feel His presence, return to Him. Ask Him where He is. Don’t place expectations on where that may be , but instead let him lead you there. You may find yourself returning to your first love, after having fallen, but this time with Him at your side.