What this world needs

I’m off work today, not well, doctor said its sinusitis and stuck me on some antibiotics. It’s a beautiful day in Cape Town and instead of wondering how much longer this is going to last I’d prefer to be getting ready to hit the road and hammer out a high intensity interval session in preparation for the Argus Cycle Tour in just under two weeks time.

In my weakened state, I had the presence of mind to recognise that what I need is God’s Presence, so I sat down, removed myself from my work email inbox and put my earphones in. I happened to click on a Sean Feucht track where he sings the words of Psalm 91. As he repeatedly sang “I will satisfy him with a long life and show him My salvation” I felt the goodness of the Holy Spirit begin to invade my heart and mind. I started to think about some of the things, people and situations that need God’s salvation, His rescue, His redemption. I started to cry, not ugly crying, just gentle tears. I cried because my confidence in God’s goodness and ability to set things straight and to make it all new became tangible.

What we need, what I need, is for God to show us His salvation, we need Him and we need to take shelter in Him. That’s the starting point. I reckon if, one by one, we would all take time, behind closed doors, just to seek the Spirit of God and experience His love and goodness we would be well on the way to receiving what this world needs. This world first and foremost does not need some of the obvious things that we think it may need. What this world needs most is for people to know and experience Jesus and the Father’s love. Love for love sake. That is the start. Actually that is the end as well.

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Suffering got me thinking good thoughts

A week or two ago I participated in the ninety niner cycle race. I started in E group, which started out far too slowly for a race, so I decided to hammer hard from the start and see how far an all out effort would take me. It was raining and quite windy in sections. The out of season rain had dissolved what I thought to be fertiliser and other chemical which had been spilt on the road by farm trucks and the water that sprayed up from other riders’ wheels left a funny taste in my mouth. I was enjoying the race though.

Towards the end of the ride, after bridging the gap from group to group, and riding among C and D group my legs had given just about all that they could. As I was approaching Vissershok, which has a decent 1.1km stretch at 9% gradient, I had a flashback to one of the last times I can remember riding out in the Northern Suburbs. It was the 1992 Falke Funride, my second ever funride. I was 11 years old and I was inexperienced. You cannot buy experience. I was suffering out somewhere in the farmlands, when I decided it was time for some nutrition. I hauled out the energy supplement of that era, corn syrup! I can remember riding along on my “outeniqua” mountain bike fussing with the sachet and really battling to open it. I decided that I needed two hands and promptly slammed on brakes! No sooner had I done this, a big fat dude slammed into the back of me and we both crashed. I landed on his lap. I remember him being very upset and I also remember that he was riding a very nice bike – and that the seat tore in the incident.

I rode off, a bit shaken, and wondering why such a big guy was drafting an 11 year old!

As I ground up Vissershok in the ninety niner I thought about that crash, and I thought about how long I have been cycling for and how so much has changed in the interim, from sports nutrition, to the bikes we ride these-days and to how much harder it is for me to climb these days because I am so much heavier. I thought about how in those days I would hit the wall hard, often with more than 50km to go in a ride and how I could ride a serious distance in a hypoglycemic state. I thought about how in that state of suffering, quick strong riders doing the “long route”, with massive calf muscles and with A, B, C, D and E numbers on their backs would fly past me as I limped to the finish line. I thought about how I would lie on the couch broken for the rest of the day. They were all good, pleasant thoughts that I look back on with massive fondness now. And I figured that often the key to enduring suffering is the awesome memories that emerge and the experiences that you cherish. Because of the memories of my early cycling days, I have got to say that I enjoyed the ninety niner a whole lot more than I would have otherwise, and Vissershok became a special reminder of awesome memories, and not just an incredibly difficult climb ending an otherwise pretty miserable race.