Thanks-living in Trust: The Wipe Out

I learned a very important lesson a few years ago:

Winter is NOT an ideal time of year to hop on a motorcycle in upper Michigan.

This particular January had warmed up just enough to fool us all into thinking spring had sprung. My husband-then-boyfriend had gone out on his bike, solo this time, only to get home to realize his back tire was so bald the wires inside were sticking out of it. Someone got worried and "instructed" him not to ride again until there were new tires on the bike.

My husband and his bike in January 2010 (with the bald back tire...)

That someone also went for a ride with her future brother-in-law on his bike towards the end of winter. The sun was shining and it was probably about as warm as that day I took my first ride in November. My brother-in-law owned a bike too at the time - not a Harley, but it sat lower than my husband's Suzuki. We got our gear on and climbed on the bike. I'd never ridden with him before, but we knew each other pretty well and I'd already been on a bike before... What could go wrong?

We went at a good pace and started turning down a couple back roads. At one point we slowed down to make a left turn. We got through the turn and hadn't quite started getting back up to speed yet when I felt the bike start swerving quickly - like when you're a kid and wiggle your bike's handlebars back and forth. I thought he just messing around and wanted to tell him to cut it out (which is hard to do when we're both wearing helmets with the face guards), but I quickly realized he wasn't goofing around.

We had hit a patch of ice on the road and he was losing control of the bike.

The next thing I knew we were tipped on our left side in the road. We skidded a bit and I remember wondering how the bike would behave being dumped on its side. Would the back tire make it spin out and catch us on its way around? I tried to scoot myself as far out of the way of the bike as I could.

We were okay. Thankfully we were going slow and had good gear. We got up and he made sure I was okay, picked up the bike, and asked a very honest question - did I want to get back on the bike? To which, in my head, I had a very snarky response - well, I'm not walking back and we have to get back somehow! So back on the bike we got and headed back. We had very minor injuries basically consisting of some road rash, but we haven't been on a bike together since.

Sometimes life feels like it's going along great, and seemingly out of nowhere something will come along to make us wipe out. We probably should have known ice on the road was a strong possibility that day, but we figured we'd be fine. We tend to go through life the same way. Things seem fine and then the unexpected pops up.

When you're riding the back of a motorcycle you can't see what's ahead of you. When we're going through life with Christ in the driver's seat, we don't always get to see where we're headed.

Photo Credit: Google images/emilysquotes.com
It's so tempting to want to take control of the handlebars when it seems like God is losing control. A scary diagnosis threatens our health and peace of mind. The boyfriend or husband who made poor choices now makes it hard to rebuild the connection that once was there. A job loss leads to doubting abilities or purpose. Loss of a loved one leaves feelings of grief and loneliness that seem like they may never go away. When we hit these patches of ice in our lives we can quickly feel like we're spinning out of control - and we tend to blame God for it.

And the answer to this desire for control? I don't have an easy answer to that question because I still struggle with it myself. But I do know that this is where thanks-living in trust is necessary in our lives. Believing that God is in control can completely change how we see the problems that come up. 

Jeff had to teach me this concept after our first bike ride. He told me that when he leans one way or the other on the bike, I need to lean with him. It's really a scary thing. The bike is already leaning when you turn a corner, and now I'm supposed to lean with it? Yes. My instinct is to counter the lean of the bike and keep my body upright. But if I'm staying up right and Jeff's leaning with the bike, I'm risking upsetting the balance of the bike. He can't read the movement of the bike as well if I'm not cooperating. I had to learn to trust that leaning with him was going to make our ride smoother and that he wouldn't do something to put us in danger.

Thanks-living in trust looks like us cooperating with God no matter the situation in our life. It's us learning to lean with God instead of thinking we know better and fighting what God is doing. It's us relying on God to do what's best for us instead of being afraid that He'll make a wrong move or lose control. These things are extremely difficult to do. But God helps us do it. He doesn't leave us to figure this out for ourselves - He sent His Spirit to live in and with us so we can live every day with thanks-living. The Spirit helps us cooperate, pray, lean with God and learn from Him. Need some reasons to trust God and live it daily? Here are some of God promises to you...

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Isaiah 26:3,4
You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.

Psalm 9:10
And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.

Proverbs 29:25
The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.

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