My aunt and I used to go biking a lot. We’ve biked back country gravel roads and paved suburban pathways, hilly river terrain and flat farmland byways. We’ve biked until our legs couldn’t even hold us up when we got off the bike to rest. (When we first started biking, that point was after a mile. We got better.)
You know what make popular paths? Those old railroad right-of-ways. They’re level because trains don’t like rocky terrain, and they’re mostly flat because trains can’t go straight up and down. They have to snake around the landscape. Let the railroad go out of business, pull up the rails and ties, throw down crushed gravel and boom! Instant path (from here on out, insta-paths). And, get this… they’re straight and narrow.
However, my aunt and I hate those paths. Sure, they’re easy, but they’re… too easy. They’re not fun. Insta-paths are like instant oatmeal. Blah.
You know what is also narrow… those diamond lanes in suburbs and cities that are set aside for bikes to ride. Talk about a rush! You’ve got a curb on one side and cars whizzing past on the other. You’re one swerve away from being thankful you put clean underwear on that morning. (Just like your mother told you. Good job!)
Those rides force you out of your little box to be aware of what’s going on around you. Suburban paths are usually less well marked than insta-paths. Suddenly, you’re turned around in a Cul-de-sac peddling for your life as a Rottweiler charges at you barking. Thank goodness for invisible dog fences!
It’s inevitable that at one or more intersections, you will get separated from your riding buddy if you have one. Bank on it. They cross just as the light turns and you’re stuck squealing on breaks as cars zoom past you, released from their pesky two minute bondage of immobility by the glowing green light.
On the other hand, what other way would you want to live? After one ride through the city, you’ll never want to ride an insta-path again. For a few miles or so, it might not be so bad. Living on the edge in the danger zone? That’s where the excitement is at.
Some people (according to every pastor or evangelist I’ve ever heard, ever), think that the Christian life is like the insta-path. Peddling along on the straight and narrow way, it’s all crushed gravel and beautiful trees.
God doesn’t call us to a life that’s safe. There will be obstacles, you may get mis-directed. You will have to be in the world, even though you’re not of it.
The insta-path may seem like the better ride, but it won’t pull you out of your comfort zone, or teach you courage, wisdom, or perseverance. It certainly won’t be as fun.
The Christian life should be enjoyable! And those who say differently are the ones riding the insta-paths. And we know what that’s like. Oatmeal. Blah.