Spring has finally arrived in Wisconsin. That means the snow that falls between now and mid-May will only last a few days. That sure is encouraging.
I love the change in seasons. And I think I am most excited when the tress begin to show life once again, the birds return to sing their songs and the sun rises earlier and hangs above the horizon longer. Spring brings a new birth from the dark days of winter. And that new birth brings a sense of new life. But there is one element of spring that is annoying.
Wind. I am not referring to those light, warming breezes that bring a cooling effect on hot summer days. I am talking about a stout, upper Midwest wind. A wind that causes you to keep both hands on the steering wheel, tie down your patio furniture, and keep you guessing as to when that tree in your yard is going to end up on your roof. That’s the kind of wind that Wisconsin is capable of producing.
For someone who loves cycling, wind is an enemy, until it taps me on the back and becomes a friend to push me along. Until that time comes, a headwind is a formidable foe, resisting the energy put into the pedals to create any consistently rapid forward momentum. Cycling into a headwind can be exhausting, removing any level of enjoyment from the ride. I find that I pay more attention to wind speeds in the weather forecast than I do precipitation.
Life, at times, can feel like a Saturday morning ride straight into an unrelenting headwind. Momentum is stalled because of a pandemic. Any amount of progress seems to take all your energy. Or just when you feel like you have reached a turn in the road to provide relief, the wind direction changes. How do you handle life when it feels like the wind beats down all the energy you exert toward forward advancement?
Scripture talks a lot about wind. Well, not the kind of wind we experience physically, but a wind in the form of the trials that life can throw at us. One of my favorite encouragements is found in Romans 5, where the apostle Paul says this, “We rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that our suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint…” While we understand that God does not cause the trials in our life, He sure does use them for our benefit. To grow us. To mature us. To make us stronger and build the character and hope He desires for us to possess.
So maybe, just maybe, the wind I experience on a bike ride this spring will do more than irritate me. Maybe it will make me stronger. Maybe the wind that is blowing against the walls of your life today will produce the endurance God wants you to have in order to bring the hope you need, and produce in you the character that resembles Christ to a watching world.
Like a colleague and great friend once told me, “Just put your head down and keep pedaling.” That’s good advice for each of us as we find ourselves battling the headwinds of life. And I am confident that at some point, maybe when you least expect it, that wind will tap you on the back and start pushing you along, providing you with a tailwind and sense of renewed energy for the ride home.
I heard you Tammy. Thanks for the advice, for cycling…and for life. Keep pedaling!