“I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings.Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” 1 Cor 9:23-27
Since April of this year, a Maryland man named Jacob Landis set out to ride his bike to all 30 MLB stadiums in America to raise money for the hearing impaired. Years earlier, Landis had also been hearing impaired but received a cochlear implant that allowed him to hear normally. Landis wanted to raise 1 million dollars for additional funding for this implant. On his last leg to the baseball stadium in Miami, Landis was struck by a semi truck and sent to the hospital. Landis was only 4 miles from his hotel when the crash happened and the truck driver never stopped to help him.
Many people would understand if Landis put up his bike and went home to Maryland. Not Landis, he attended the game in Miami even though he was unable to ride his bike there due to suffering a concussion.
Many times life seems to be very similar to Landis’s bike adventure. One minute we are soaring through life at the top of our game, knocking out goals, and accomplishing our dreams. Then with the finish line in view, we seem to be knocked off course out of nowhere. We sit alone on the side of the road wondering where we went wrong. We may feel discouraged and wanting to quit. Satan wants us to be useless. He wants us to pack up our bikes and feel sorry for ourselves. However, we are not to give up. The Apostle Paul felt discouraged many times in his journey as he continued to be interrupted in his race through life by imprisonment, church entanglements, and shipwrecks. Paul just kept pushing forward. He used those interruptions as opportunities to showcase Christ. We should refuse to be sidelined when unexpected trials come our way and depend on God to walk us through the our brokenness. God loves our broken places and wishes to mend our wounds when life’s “semi’s” knock us off our bikes.