Cycle for Justice, 2019. Where to start? The people I rode with? The joy of travelling with just a bike? God’s Majesty and His Goodness? I don’t know where to start. Maybe it’d be good to rewind (a bit) to last year and review what God told me.
“It’s not about what you offer but how you offer it.”
On the second day of Cycle for Justice 2018, stuck in traffic in the support crew car going to our accommodation for the last night. I don’t exactly remember how I stumbled upon the verses. But God gave me a vision and through it He taught me a very valuable lesson. In John 6:1-14 is the story of Jesus feeding 5 thousand men (besides women and children) with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Who offered the 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish? A boy.
What I offer or do for this cause (Cycle for Justice) that God gave me a heart for might be insignificant to many people, even my family. The disciple Andrew said to Jesus, “There is a boy here who has five barley loaves and two fish, but what are they for so many?” (John 6:9 ESV, emphasis added). It is up to Jesus what He does with what I offer, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to me and other people, it doesn’t matter. It is my job to obey and do my best in what God has called me to do.
“God does not look for capabilities, He wants your availability.”
Training for this ride was quite difficult. My life was very full of activities and meeting people aside from my day job. The only choice I was left with was obeying God when He told me to wake up 1 hour early every day and cycle to and from work. PLUS, cross-training at the gym. I kid you not, I even have a difficult time waking up at 7AM already as it is. Never did I think I could do it but God woke me up on days I couldn’t even open my eyes. This is only one of the examples where He taught me so much discipline and self-control.
Spending my time away from my family during Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) is a huge deal for me. But I always muster up the courage to ask my parents if I can go. God has been Gracious to bless my parents with grace as well. It really required courage and trust in our Good Father to prioritize what He has called me to do. It’s so difficult to obey because it’s not natural for us to obey Him. Painful to do so, too. It might be a struggle every time but it gets easier and there is so much freedom whenever I do so.
“Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” (C.S. Lewis)
My goal was to cycle an average speed of 21 km/h, pushing it, 25 km/h. I made it to 22 km/h. As happy as I was with just making the minimum requirement, I knew I could do better. My pride did not allow me to accept the fact that I could be in the slower pace bracket. In addition, I was afraid of being a failure. At the same time, I was getting very conceited by the fact that I’ve been training more regularly than other riders. However, after one bike accident and one very arrogant text message that left me embarrassed and regretful later, I was brought to my knees. God convicted me so hard. He reminded me to be humble and I was truly grateful for it. God opened my eyes and heart to the true meaning of friendly (friendship) competition (thank you, Andy), encouragement (thank you, Peter S.) and team work (thank you, Marcus).
I am so thankful and blessed to have belonged to my group. Watching each of them humbled my heart. Our leader Marcus who originally belonged to the fastest group sacrificed so much of his energy to ride at our pace. He also took all of our photos and encouraged us until the end. Particularly, listened to all my complaining and even laughed some of it off. Andy, who joined as a cyclist 5 weeks prior to the ride kept telling me that this event is going to be an steep learning curve. But her tenacity and will to continue riding was inspiring. Last but not least, Grace was the depiction of her name. So gracious in whatever she did. She was patient even when she was tired and kept going without complaining. Even allowed us to shower first. Our team was THE BEST!
“If God’s creation is this beautiful, how much more He,
Who created it?”
The second day of the ride was such a beautiful day. It was a day for the first time in two years where I was moved to tears while looking at God’s creations. The curves of the mountains, the gentle golden rice fields and the vibrant colors of the flowers. These sparked true joy in my heart and put a smile on my face. But man, the mountains. Looking at them reminded me of God’s Majesty. They were so bold and majestic, confident in their identity. Leaving me breathless. Though at one point my brain said, “Wow. Those mountains look gorgeous. Aaaand those might be the mountains I’d need to climb in a bit, but…”
Those who know me well also know that I prefer the beach over mountains and that I hate hiking mountains. I was so caught up in their majesty that I couldn’t stop looking at them for the 3 days. If those mountains, created by God are that much beautiful then how much more beautiful is God, Who created them? Isn’t that amazing? Wow…
“His Grace and Faithfulness knows no boundaries.”
Despite the fact that I prefer cycling up the mountain compared to hiking. It doesn’t mean I like it because I find it easier, it actually isn’t. It’s faster but definitely not easier. As I was cycling up Hwaak-san, what kept my legs going was the mantra in my head, “God is Good. God is Faithful.” while breathing very slowly in sync to the pace I was keeping. Focusing on God and His Faithfulness; on His Promises that He will get me through this really encouraged me. And when one of our support crew members came over, held me and prayed for me when I stopped for a bit because my legs decided to give up, I was deeply moved. Her prayer made me feel God’s Love and Grace. I felt it so much that I was crying up the mountain. (It wasn’t easy since I was barely breathing properly at that time.)
On the first night (before Hwaaksan day), we were gathered in one room singing praise songs. God’s Grace was so strong upon us, on our group that it was overwhelming. He told me this, “I will bring to completion what I have started through you. I will bring to fruition what I have started in you. My hand is upon you and I will guide you and protect you.”
We had one accident that first day and it could’ve ended up really bad. There were also three bike accidents before the ride but we all healed very quickly. It was truly a reminder that when God calls us to do something and we obey, He not only provides but is Gracious and is Faithful. Never put God in a box. 🙂
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56:3 ESV)
Conquering fear and despair was one of the most difficult battles I had to face. There were days when I’d be afraid to ride my bike. The “what if?” questions and the awful scenarios playing in my head were overwhelming. One day, the enemy told me to go back home and I did. That made me angrier at myself than satan for actually being deceived by him. I shared about my fear to my close friend and she really encouraged me to bring it to God and talk to Him about it. I did. And every step I took to overcome fear and trust in God was worth it. I still struggle with fear. However, choosing to dwell in God’s Presence and believing in His Truth, and that my fears can be drowned by God’s Perfect Love helped me to ward off the lies of the enemy. Repeating this verse until it was engraved in my heart helped me take those big steps. What’s a better weapon than God’s Word, right? 🙂
“God meets us where we are.”
This statement was difficult for me to grasp until now. I’ve never been a mentally strong person. Giving up and running away was something I was used to. Did you notice I said, “was”? God met me where I was, not only in the condition of my heart but also in my mental state. I remember hearing Him loud and clear, telling me “DON’T GIVE UP! YOU CAN DO THIS!” repeatedly when I first rode up that small “speed bump” at Amsa. When God tells you that you can do it, meaning He has already promised victory. Did He tell you not to give up? It means that He will sustain you in all aspects. I don’t think I could’ve trained like I did nor finish this ride without Him. It was a constant battle with myself to stop looking backwards or at the negative but to look at God and focus on Him and nothing else. I learned that the moment I diverted my eyes somewhere else, I was lost. God came to the place, the situation and condition that I was in to sanctify me and lead me to the person He originally created me to be.
The 3 days of Cycle for Justice this year was purely amazing. My heart is full just thinking about those 3 days. It was the most physically challenging 3 days of my life but I enjoyed every single moment of it. God has certainly brought all 22 of us together to meet, speak life to each other, hold each other strong and show His Glory through and in us. On the last day when we arrived at our finishing place, it was bittersweet. I felt happy that I could go back to my introverted self and stay in my room but at the same time I was sad that an amazing 3-day journey came to an end when for sure, I swear I could ride for 5 more days. HAHA! (Yeah, right.)
There is still so much more I want to say, but I will end this post here.
Until the next time we meet; keep walking, keep cycling, keep going and don’t forget to choose joy. 🙂
Photo Credits : Inyoung, Kelli, Marcus