The Big Ride
Last weekend I rode the Dallas MS-150, a two-day cycling event organized by the national Multiple Sclerosis Society (MS). Riders raised 1.3 million dollars to fund critical research and provide valuable support to the one million Americans with MS.
Saturday took us on a 105 mile journey around Lake Lewisville. We began in Frisco, rode to Lake Ray Roberts, crossed over to Sanger, and then rode through Denton and Flower Mound on our way to the finish line at Lake Grapevine.
We encountered people at various points along the course who cheered riders as they passed.
- Some rang cowbells.
- Others displayed hand-made posters.
- There were always shouts of encouragement.
The Big Wall
I began to struggle at the 70 mile point. At mile 80 I seriously questioned my ability to finish. At 90 miles I was done. I mean I was finished. We had 15 miles left to go. At our pace it would take an hour to finish. I simply didn’t have what it was going to take.
I told David Baird and David Leeper, my constant companions for the ride, that I needed to quit. Both encouraged me to continue. Both offered to ride with me no matter how long it took but there just wasn’t any more fuel in the tank. I pulled to the side of the road, dismounted, asked a police officer for the address of our location, and called Phyllis to come pick me up.
I sat in the shade of a large oak tree and reflected over how the experience illustrated the help and support we should offer our fellow sojourners through this life with Jesus.
Dozens of riders passed as I waited on my rescue. Most asked if I was okay. Many offered whatever assistance I might need. The police officer who gave me the address offered to call a medic! Several riders invited me to finish with them. One man actually stopped and dismounted his own bike to make sure I was well.
The Big Support
Not one rider blamed me for my situation. Nobody said I was reaping what I had sown. They could have. I foolishly set out on the 105 mile journey when the farthest I had ridden this spring was 50. I had failed to drink enough water both before and during the ride. They would have been accurate in their criticism. Instead they offered encouragement, companionship, and assistance.
- Every rider spoke to build me up rather than tear me down.
- My two companions did everything possible to help.
- Each rider who passed sincerely wanted me to be successful.
- All encouraged me to get me back on my bike and finish as well as I could.
The Big Take-Away
We encounter people daily who have stumbled in their journey with Jesus. Sadly, too often we add to their struggle by leveling blame for their situation. We would do well to leave the judgment to God and instead provide encouragement to our fellow travelers. Rather than criticize whatever shortcomings we think we can identify, we should commit to walk beside them along the journey and pledge our support when they need it.
I am thankful for so many who look beyond my obvious shortcomings and encourage me to press on in this journey we travel together. I imagine you, too, have strong voices of encouragement in your life. Because of my experience on Saturday I possess a fresh appreciation for the difference we make with kindness and encouragement.