I was ten kilometres into my ride on a sunny January day, when I got a flat tire. I searched my bike’s panniers, but the levers weren’t there. Without them, it would be impossible to fix the flat. I hate it when I don’t have what it takes to do what I want.
That feeling is all too familiar to me. Before I write a sermon or a blog post, and as I listen to someone in spiritual direction, I often hesitate because I don’t know what to say. Yet these are the activities I find most rewarding. Why? Because in those moments, when I realize I cannot move forward without God’s help, suddenly God comes. Suddenly, the words are given. And what unfolds is amazing.
But that awful feeling of helplessness returns whenever I must wait. I wish God would deliver what I need in a timelier manner, but it appears that God doesn’t want to take away my helplessness. Instead I am invited to welcome it—and not just sporadically, but in all of my life. The truth is: I am dependent on God for everything.
She who hesitates is not lost; she is in God. Knowing this helps me relax into a posture of waiting. This ancient way of being is slowly becoming my new normal. The prophet Isaiah said, “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength, they shall mount up with wings like eagles.”
In the end, a friend took Gracie (my bike) and me home and Fred fixed the flat. Even with levers, I couldn’t get the tire off by myself. Within a few days, I had another opportunity to go for a long bike ride. I sped along, feeling like an eagle in flight, and gave thanks for Fred, the weather, and the strength to enjoy the ride.
. . . and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. –Malachi 3:1b
Questions for your Lenten journey:
- When have you experienced helplessness?
- How might this be an invitation to welcome God’s presence?