Cycling: the Sequel

I fell off The Bike. One minute I was sailing along, congratulating myself on how well I was handling this whole re-entry to cycling thing, the next minute I was lying on the ground, with a kind Dutch lady asking me if I was ok. Apart from a cut knee (quite an achievement as I fell on grass!) and a bruised ego, I was fine. I struggled to my feet to prove it and, in Dutch Direct style, she said: ‘Are you not used to riding a bike?’ I replied honestly: ‘No; I am just starting’. She looked at me a bit strangely, backed away slowly and I could see her thinking: ’Just starting to ride a bike? At her age? How weird!’ Anyway, I did what you are supposed to do – I got right back on The Bike and took the straight road home (most roads are straight here – and flat). The whole way home those annoying but true words from Proverbs kept bouncing around in my head – ‘Pride comes before a fall.’ And, as if that wasn’t enough, another warning from 1Corinthians popped up too: ‘So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall.’ Yes – it seems like I had it coming to me! But those biblical warnings are about so much more than cycling – they are guides for our whole lives. Once we lose our humility and think we can do it all by ourselves instead of trusting God, falling is inevitable. Physically, falling down is a strange thing – children do it so easily; they bounce back up, forget the fall in minutes and their cuts soon heal. For adults it’s not so easy. We have further to fall and we feel the pain for longer. It seems we get worse at falling as we get older. Yet in our Christian experience, that should not be so. We know by now that our God will lift us up again and we have Christian friends and family to encourage us to get back on The Bike. I am encouraged by this less familiar verse from Proverbs: ‘The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again.’  I’m off out for a ride now – just give me an hour or so to get my helmet, body armour and goggles on!

Nelson Mandela

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