I made a lot of mistakes today. This is an apparent declaration, but it could be any day really, it’s just that today seemed noteworthy enough to write about it. As I reflect on this past day I know the places that I lacked either sense or knowledge or both. Earlier today, I thoroughly enjoyed the sermon I heard. In fact it was convicting enough that I listened twice. Usually I skip the second time but today was different. I needed to hear it a second time, to let it seep in and maybe take root.
You see, I am one of the worship leaders at the church I attend and we have 2 services each Sunday. Because both services are identical, I am there for both. Typically, I sit and listen to the first sermon but escape outside of the building for the second. For some reason, today was a day that needed something extra, especially in light of my mistakes.
Mainly, I think I felt disappointed by the performance of the group, mostly my contribution. We are a newer group with some newer members who are doing their best, especially now that we have navigated away from using back up tracks to play and sing to. We have been live for a few months but new musicians have begun to take their places. With those advents, there have been some growing pains. Today was one for me. I want nothing more than to make a joyful noise but it is a day like this that leaves me wanting to simply relent and suggest that I’m not cut out for this. However, I love being up there. I love to sing and now I am having even more fun learning to play guitar and do the 2 together.
As I sat in our café following our second set, I had an image pop in my head of trying to erect a thousand ladders in order to reach God so that I could talk to Him and explain my morning of mistakes. As I sat there with that image, I realized that no matter how many ladders I stacked up, I didn’t need a single one because God had come right down to my level and He didn’t seem to mind my mistakes, or at least not as much as I did. For a moment, I actually seemed OK. But like usual, I picked that baggage back up and decided to hold onto it for a little while longer.
After I got home, I had lunch with my son and we both changed so we could go for a mountain bike ride on a trail we both love. We arranged to meet a friend of mine at the trail head and we set off. When we got there it began to rain but seeing blue sky coming, we decided that the rain would only provide us with an opportunity to get a little muddy. We saddled up and took off on what should have been a 1 hour loop. About halfway into our 11 mile ride, sickening clouds began to form all around us and lightning touched off on 2 sides. We rode on hoping to escape most of it, but we anticipated a little rain. Nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
As we turned onto a new section of trail and made our way uphill through a winding area, the rain began to fall. Within 30 seconds it was hailing, the wind was gusting to 60 mph and the rain was coming down so hard it created flash floods on the very trail we had been riding on. We sought refuge under a spindly Juniper tree and I shielded my son from the most intense quarter sized hail and wind gusts. But after standing there for about 5 minutes, we agreed that we had no other choice than to make a run for it. Oddly, I had not pulled my headphones out of my ears and music continued to play. The first song that came on as we began to make our way out of there, was Oceans From The Rain.
We headed back the way we came; riding in what had now become a surging creek instead of a trail. We managed to make it about a mile and a half when my friend’s tire blew out. I know that my face was probably covered in mud so it might have been tough to tell just how exasperated I was at that moment, but I remained calm and knew that what we would have to do at that point was to have my son and I ride back to the truck and then return for my buddy.
My son and I wrestled with washed out trails and roads to make it back to the truck. When we got back I realized I had locked my key inside but with a bit of quick thinking I was able to get in. Obviously that could have been disastrous, but I began to piece together that ladder image again in my head and realized that everything was going to be OK. I had been thoughtful in having both of us grab a sweatshirt just in case, plus I had a large towel, so when we got back we were able to dry off and put on something warm. Fifteen minutes later we had my buddy securely in the truck and we were out of there.
As we drove back towards town, we remarked on the massive pools of water that had formed in the wake of the storm. Several roads appeared to be washed out as well and we were happy to be headed home. After warm showers and clean clothes we were able to really break down the ride and how it had all happened so fast. In the end, my son was able to say that our ride had been epic. And as I took that in I realized that even though I ride myself so hard for mistakes, not everyone feels the same way, or sees things the same way.
This morning was certainly a challenge, but as I gained perspective on the day I was left holding onto something much bigger; God is so much greater than all these little trivial thinks I stack up. So what, there was a little rain in my life this morning and then there was a literal ton of it this afternoon. In lieu of that rain, God made something bigger for me; an observation that He is greater than all of it.