When bike riding, it is exhilarating to coast downhill with the wind whistling by. It’s easy to be proud of speeds reached with so little effort. However, we often forget in these thrilling moments that gravity is doing most of the work. The real test of bike riding is when peddling uphill with the wind against you. Great strength does not come from coasting downhill, but by exerting yourself on the ride uphill.
Our journey through life is full of ups and down. It is so easy to coast through prosperity when everyone is behind us, backing and congratulating us. In positive and encouraging circumstances, life takes little effort and it’s easy to become overconfident.
The real test of character comes when we hit a steep hill of adversity – the wind suddenly changes and everyone seems against us. Progress can be so agonisingly slow that we feel it would be easier to give up. However, God allows us to go through times of adversity to give us a chance to grow ‘spiritual’ muscle.
If life was simply a continuous ride of prosperity, the result would be a big, self-serving ego. Adversity quickly reminds us that we must focus on God and trust in His Word. It’s in our weakness that we become strong (2 Corinthians 12:9-11). When we push uphill trusting in God, spiritual muscle is formed. Our future ‘inner’ strength is built from the adversities we overcome today.
When we are riding with God, life becomes exciting again. We know the mountains before us are there to make us stronger. As we start enjoying the ups and downs, people around us will start noticing. They will wonder how we overcome adversity and stay humble in prosperity with such grace and seemingly little effort – and this brings glory to God.
“But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31