I love biking and walking the paths we have in abundance here in Minnesota. While I prefer the 5 months of the year when we get beauty and color and warmth, and have been begging the trees to hold onto their leaves, I’ll walk in basically any weather conditions. As I walk or ride around our lakes, I notice that there are always stretches that are my favorite – the lush, wooded shady parts.
But there are also barren stretches that I’d really rather skip. Very much like the seasons of my life I’d rather fast-forward through. Thistly and ugly.
The other day I was riding my bike and there was such a stiff headwind that it was really difficult to move forward. Struggling against brisk gales, I rode along a stretch where I had never been before. A dead and ugly stretch. But then
I noticed something odd and seemingly out of place in the dull brown grasses. It was a bench with “Come to me and I will give you rest” etched on it. And next to it, someone had left a pair of sneakers.
An old friend of mine, Billy Sprague once wrote a song called Press On. Part of the lyrics go like this: I was down in the valley of the shadow of death, Where the passion for life drained like blood from my chest, And it took more than my will just to take a step and the compass of hope was gone… Some days I found faith meant just tying my shoes and it was all I could do to press on.
It made me think about the invitation to rest, and the words “I will give.” spoken by God
I will give you a new heart, I will give you the bread of life. I will give you a new name. I will give you words and wisdom. I will give you abundant life. I will give you a place.
I will give my life for you.
The other day I rode by again. The bench was there. The shoes were gone. I like to think that someone leaned into what Jesus had to give and found there the strength to tie their shoes and press on once again.