I had the opportunity to go on a group motorcycle ride to tour the Airborne & Special Forces Museum in Fayetteville, N.C., with a local chapter of the Christian Motorcyclist Association. Having been many years since I’ve ridden or driven a motorcycle, I chose to ride on the back seat of my husband’s bike. Not realizing I had committed to more than a two hour ride (kick stands up at 9:30a.m. and back home at 5:00p.m.) I had a lot of time for thinking…and praying! One can learn a lot by taking the back seat, not just about biking, but life and spiritual lessons as well.
Before we got underway, the group leader gathered everyone to go over the riding route, rules and lead us in a word of prayer. (I prayed a lot on that bike!)
Our rural community soon faded in the distance as we sped down the highway towards Raleigh. “Great”, I sighed, “That means lots and lots of vehicles and traffic lights.” We passed through downtown Raleigh, me with head bowed and my eyes closed through most of it. (I’m not comfortable in a car in Raleigh. Only the Lord could calm my nerves on the back of a bike.) Finally through the thick of traffic, I open my eyes and begin to relax. Things certainly look different and smell different from the back of a motorcycle.
As we continued on our journey, I let my thoughts wander. “Lord, what do you want me to take away from today’s experiences? What can I share?” Then I could hear him whispering to me in my minds ear.
“Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
So, I pondered those words all day. Here are the lessons I learned along the way.
Lesson 1 – When riding a motorcycle, one has to lean with it. It becomes second nature. Until then, if you try to fight the lean, you may end up falling, or going in an unintended direction. (No we did not fall and stayed on the correct course.) You learn to trust your bike, and if you are riding on the back of one, you have to trust the driver. It’s the same with our relationship with God. So often we want to do things our way, even if it’s wrong. I know for me, when I don’t trust Him fully, I tend not lean to on Him and I end up going down or in unintended directions. I will either get hurt feelings or cause someone else to be hurt, or I will make a situation more difficult than it should be.
Our route took us through rural country side. I saw fields of crops and pastures with cows and horses grazing in the morning sun. I saw ponds and lakes. The site, sounds and scents of nature filled my senses. Again, scripture came to mind,
“Psalms 50:10-11 for every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills.11 I know every bird in the mountains, and the insects in the fields are mine.
Lesson 2 – Appreciate the beauty of God’s creation.
As the morning passed on to noon, we rode through many small towns. We crossed numerous rail road tracks. Highway construction caused several delays. I lost count of all the bumps. At one point I felt like a bobble-head doll. 🙂
Lesson 3 – Even though life has many bumps and winding paths along the way, when I trust God and look to Him for my source of strength, then those paths are little more bearable. (He will make your paths straight.)
Traffic signals and congestion caused the group to become separated near our destination. Only the leader knew the way. Others of us had a general map, but not the destination address. We only knew that it was somewhere on Bragg Blvd, on the left. Somewhere on the left. Bragg Blvd is a looong four lane thorough fare!
That was cause for me to pray earnestly again. There I was on the back of a motorcycle, in an unfamiliar city, with a group of people who were lost. We finally found our destination and pulled into the parking lot. Our group leader and the first two bikers were not there. They pulled up as we were dismounting our bikes. I asked the leader how it was that he came in behind us. His reply to me was, “I went looking for you.” Again scripture came to mind. This time the parable of when Jesus likens himself to a shepherd looking for his lost sheep in the book of Luke.
“What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he finds it?”
Lesson 4 – Listen to those who know the way, learn to read the instructions so you will know what directions to take, be ready to share it with others. (You better believe I whipped out the print out our group leader gave us earlier that morning.) (Lean not unto your own understanding.)
Lesson 5 – God will seek the lost to draw them back to Him.
Oh how refreshing it was inside the museum. After riding in 95 degree heat for three hours with full riding gear on, the air conditioning was oh so heavenly. Going from one exhibit to another, we gained a deepened appreciation for the men and women who served our country in the Air Force. Then I saw a scripture stenciled on one wall that made me stop and examine my life just a bit closer.
Lesson 6 – As these men and women dared to make a difference in the world, I must be willing to dare to make a difference in the lives of those I have the opportunity to reach out to even where I am.
The museum tour came to an end. The group leader gathered us once more to go over route instructions to our next destination. I was a little more relaxed on the back of the bike this time. I had learned to trust, not only my husband at the controls of the bike we were riding, but the other bikers and their riding skills to keep us all safe on the road.
Lesson 7 – Taking the back seat isn’t necessarily a demeaning position. It means that you know your weaknesses, or limits and allow someone with better skills to lead. Or it may mean that you sit back and allow the opportunity for those who need to develop skills to do so while you supervise. And to me it also means trusting God, leaning into His direction and enjoying the ride with Him.
That my friends is what I learned on the back of my husband’s motorcycle while taking the back seat.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for the opportunity to take the back seat and learn from your creation throughout the beautiful country side and cities, and the comradery and fellowship offered by the Christian Motorcyclist Association. Help each of us to trust you more fully and lean into you as we share your love with others. In Christ name. Amen.