Tuesday, May 31, 2011

On the Road Again - ENDURING HOPE

The Whee Factor ... Mogollon Rim Hill Climb outside Payson, Arizona

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 15:13

Is it odd to confess I prefer long hill climbs to everyday riding on a road bike? What is it about a hill climb that entices my allegiance to the sport? Maybe, it’s the tremendous satisfaction I feel once I reach a summit.

When I start a new climb for the first time I rely on the hope that my physical ability and equipment will propel me to the summit. This hope is my assurance that the outcome will come to pass. I excitedly and eagerly await its arrival.
A climb doesn’t come without some initial research. Is this a climb other bikers usually accomplish? What is the estimated pitch and how does it compare to my previous experience? The Complete Guide to Climbing (By Bike) lists the top 100 most challenging hill climbs in North America helping bikers to answer these questions.

I approach the expectation of reaching the summit of a hill climb similarly to the hope I place in my eternal life with God in heaven. Although I have no guarantee of the outcome this day or life will bring, I hold on to the hope of the future promise with an assurance it will come to pass (Hebrews 11:1).

To me hill climbs mirror life as a whole. Each peddle stroke permits a transformation of character to occur developing me in to someone who reflects true greatness. Overcoming fear, being exhausted of pride, and persevering in suffering are samples of the character qualities a rider develops as they peddle to the summit. 

As I ride, I often internally inquire “Will I finish strong?” And, what do I measure finishing strong against? A trophy? A personal best? Or better yet, a new strength of character? A new promise of what I can endure in suffering? I question “What is God’s measure of true greatness?”

I snap my feet to the peddles of my bike with the guarantee each stroke will bring me to encounter suffering at many points on the ride. Does fear paralyze me or thrust me forward? To live is to encounter suffering. There is no dodging this reality.

Hope changes me in to a pilgrim. I am on a journey to a destination. This mindset gives me courage to move ahead and not ponder the pain of my current circumstance because my eyes are fixed on the prize.[1]

  • Is the heavenly realm a celestial cliché to you? or, a sure hope.
  • Do you find you have a firm grip on the things of this world? or, the guarantee of everlasting life.
  • Are you bogged down in the pain of your current suffering? or, the promise of no more tears.
  • What coping mechanism do you find yourself escaping to? or, do you push through fear with courage.
  • Do the comforts of life (self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction) cause you to become passive to the things of God? or, question the certainty of them.
  • Do you know what the source of your peace is? or, are you resigned to live in various states of turmoil.
  • Are you concerned with sickness and death? or, are you confident in the face of death.

Would you like to learn more about how to become equipped in hope? Read The Whee Factor by Edy Sutherland. Using outdoor adventure object lessons just like this one, I show you how I’ve come to live with authentic hope in the aim you too will want the assurance enduring hope provides.  

Special thanks to Matt Rinehart and Christine Callan for contributing to the thoughts in this blog series. Be sure to follow the next five weeks as I explore how we tackle the hill climbs of life.

This is the second post in a six week series on hill climbing. Be sure to read the ENTIRE series ... On the Road Again

If you enjoyed this blog series you may also enjoy the series ... Open Road, Narrow Path


Christine said...

I love the sense of satisfaction in accomplishing something great, like a hill climb. It is an opportunity to persevere and If I pay attention, I can learn many lessons from the sport that I can apply to relationships especially and trials like cancer or seperation.

Thanks for the reminder Edy. I am hoping Matt will teach me the roadbike someday!

Christine said...

First I need to buy a bike:)

Anonymous said...

I think it is a very positive thing to be able to see the good in the hill climbs of life. We spend so much more time climbing than at the summit.

Also... I can't wait to hear what you have to say about the downhill! WHEEE!!!

Living in Extreme Ways said...

I was reminded this week to consider what we place our hope in ... Because, what if our ability (self sufficiency) fails us or we get sideswipped by a truck pulling a fifth wheel (affliction). What becomes of us when what we placed our hope in is dashed?

If we peddle toward "enduring" hope: the truth of salvation, God's loving kindness, kinship with God, God's Word, purpose in Christ, and our eternal inheritance then the suffering in this world is just a momentary "blip" on the radar.

Anonymous said...

My approach to climbing is small victories! For me to look at the entire hill is overwhelming but if I break it down into smaller segments I can manage, no different than my walk with Christ, take up my cross daily, keep short accounts,etc..... Also in terms of climbing, the more you climbing do the steeper climbs you can take on. No different in our walk, the more we depend on Christ the more we depend on Christ!

Julie B said...

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
- Romans 15:13
I love this verse...it is my life verse.

I used to have stickers on my handle bars. Believe. Breathe. Faith. So every time I would hit a hill, I would slow down and the words would just jump out at me.

I can clearly remember riding 50 miles every Sunday before church. I would ride as fast as I could through the hood to hit South Mountain. My goal was to get to the top to the TV towers then back down and home so I could be to church on time. When I hit the hills, my stickers would speak to me. I also fought my pride, thinking only the strong can do this. Years later I would be hit by a car and humbled by my inability to be invincible yet human. It was through this mountain climb I learned life will always be an uphill battle yet with faith, hope and love, I can endure anything.

Thanks Edy for your inspiration !!