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The Buckled Bike ~ a prayer

    Dear God in Heaven,

    I feel as if I've fallen from my bike tonight, Lord. It's as if the rims of the wheels are all knocked and crooked, and I'm attempting to ride my bike anyway. I've traveled through some rocky paths with many hilly outcrops. It's been hard work, but I've kept pushing on. Till now the worst has happened, and I've fallen altogether, with the bike in mangled pieces, and me in heaps of pain.

    I know exactly what has happened, Lord, and what has caused my life to stumble at this point. I should have fixed things days ago with you, I know, but I just kept on going, struggling on my own with no support. I recognize how wrong I've been and I'm truly sorry God. Please forgive me, and cleanse me for not coming to you immediately I felt upset, and pouring my heart out to you, just like David did. I know now that I can't 'do it' on my own, so right now I need your help, and I'm begging you to come. I need your strength to set things right; get up and try again.

    The wheels of my bike are like my inner soul just now, which has been knocked about and damaged. The rocky path is like the stressful stretch of road I'm on. My life has been so tough these months, with sickness and extreme pain. I've traveled paths like this before, but none quite so thorn-ridden. It's one step forward, two steps back, then struggling on again.After years of pain, and then several months of toxins pouring through my body and making me extremely ill,I had some major surgery just three weeks ago. My entire large intestine was removed, and now I'm in a lot of pain, with a huge long scar to heal, and new organs have to learn to take over the role that the old one used to do.The doctors all assurrred me that recovery would be slow and painful, so I prepared myself for the long haul.

    But I also assumed, wrongly, that all my friends would understand the enormity of this procedure and the ramifications on my life for ever. Most, of course, have been just wonderful. But there have been these others, God, who have shaken me and dented my heart, the rim of this bike of mine. "Have faith", these pundits cried to me. "Expect a miracle!!!" These calls from people standing on the edges of my life, but not involved in my day to day struggle. It seems so easy to have faith when the person is another, but it's me that's in the pain right now, not them - why don't they know? If I said I was in pain I was told I was speaking negatives. This was not negative - it was positively true!!!

    I needed silence from this crowd to concentrate fully upon the road to health again. But when they shouted from the sides, in destructive and unhealthy ways,I took my eyes from you. You are the one to whom I needed to listen, to keep my soul secure. For dwelling in your hearth is where I need to be to gain all the strength I need - I know that Lord, so well.

    You, my Lord, are the hub of my life, the hub of the wheels that I ride. You are the eternal centre, turning silently and smoothly to accomplish all your will. You have plans for me, I know dear Lord, and you shall work them out in your good time, and with no forceful shouts beyond what I can bear.I love your still, small voice, which brings calm, or challenge, but always in love, and when and how I can cope with it best.

    These people had advice which was not helpful at this time, and they dented those outer rims and made my ride so hard. For they kept telling me to have faith, plan to be completely well in weeks, and not to even countenance the advice and opinion of the doctors, but by cajoling me into beliefs that I'm not capable to do, has made me feel a failure and not helped my faith at all.

    I needed to hear hope and love and messages of cheer. I needed to smell fresh flowers and be loaned discs of beautiful music to calm my heart. I needed little books to inspire and encourage. The funny thing is Lord, that I was given all those things from other folk, all of which reminded me of your love for me, my love for you, and for my family. I also know I need to have faith, and in my heart I do - I have a faith in a big God who ultimately will win, a God who sees eternal plans and the whole big picture, a God who loves me and will lead me by still waters that I need. I know I have a God who has high hopes - as endless as the sea - who has good plans ahead for me which will be shown to me at exactly the right time. And most of all I know God's love, who takes me as I am - a broken pot with deep-etched cracks, and they will be moulded perfectly together when the time is right, and in a better and more healthy shape than ever before!

    Forgive me please, for faltering - for listening to the few negative but noisy crowd. It is interesting how so many positive and helpful things have been swept away by the shouts of the minority who do not understand.Help me still myself still more to hear your silent voice, the gentle breeze you bring to me, the jar of water to refresh my soul. Show me ways to test what's said, and discard the unwise word, and listen only to your voice, with calm assurance. And help me never, God, to jump into other people's lives with my personal advice, or opinion, without first checking with you if this will help them, uplift them, and encourage them on their path to wholeness, and give them strength for their journey. I love the saying ' You walk a mile in my shoes, and THEN tell me what I should be doing'. Help me to apply this to my life, and not to judge others regarding any aspect of their life's journey. For you will guide them and teach them - all I must do is love them!

    I can hear it already Lord. You have heard me, have forgiven me, but also you have challenged me through this to be even more aware of the power of my own words in bringing your love and healing light to others. Help me to be a grace-extender and not a critical advice-giver. So thank you for the broken bike - it's brought me one tiny bit more into line with your will for me. So now I hear your first challenge - to go out of my way above all to offer love, compassion and understanding to those who have hurt me - and not to judge them either, for perhaps they have their own pain which I know nothing about.

    © 2004 Christine M. Jones
    Christine Jones is married to David. She has two adult children and precious grandchildren. She has worked for many years as a school teacher/librarian, and written children's material for several years in her 'spare time'. She loves nature, music and the theatre.

    John Mark Ministries
    djandcj@optusnet.com.au