At the end of May, I took my bike and my tent up to the Hebrides. Not only did I enjoy the stunning scenery, I was also reminded again and again of the Father heart of God, and how much He cares about me as an individual. Here are just a few of many examples to encourage you.
For two night’s running, the winds were up at 45 mph, and my tent poles were bending in an alarming way. I didn’t get much sleep, but God answered my prayers and kept my tent intact.
Cycling up the Hebridean Way meant coping with the logistics of ferry crossing times, and on my second morning cycling, I had worked out how long I expected it to take to cycle the 40 miles to the ferry, which left at 1.30pm. Given that it was too windy to sleep, I was packed up and ready to go earlier than I normally am. So, I set off, and with the wind behind me, which always makes a cyclist happy, I was making good progress and the miles were slipping by. Usually, I would have found a coffee shop and made the most of the time to sit and enjoy the scenery, but for some reason that morning, I just felt like I should keep pedaling. I got to the ferry port at 11.40am to find a sign saying that the next crossing was at 11.45. Due to the wind, and the tides, they had changed the crossing times and if I had missed that sailing, the next crossing would not have been until 5.30pm! It blows my mind that with everything going on in the world at the moment, God cares enough about the details of my life to ensure I kept pedaling and made it to the ferry in time.
The final day’s cycling was wet, very wet, all day. I took my tent down in the rain, cycled across the hills of Harris and into Lewis in the rain, and then put my tent up in the rain. The sun did then finally come out and it was a beautiful evening! After a good few hours of very wet, windy, and hilly cycling I was ready to stop for lunch, but there had been no sign of anywhere to shelter, and standing by the side of the road in the pouring rain didn’t really appeal. I prayed for somewhere to take cover, and five minutes later, came round a corner to see the bus shelter in the photo. Now it would be easy to explain this away and say that yes, the bus shelter was there before I prayed. But God knew exactly when I would be cycling along that road, in the rain, wanting protection. He knows, He cares, and He listens.
On my way home, my train into Inverness was late, so I missed my connection. When I asked if I could get my bike on the next train, the answer at the ticket office was, ‘No, and probably not on any train today or tomorrow’. Eeek! But once again, God was in control. To cut a long story short, there was a very helpful member of staff on the platform, and a couple of people who had booked their bikes on the next train didn’t show up, so myself and some other cyclists got on it.
The whole time I was away I was so aware of God’s presence with me, protecting me, listening to me, providing for me, and blessing me with some of the most beautiful cycling I have experienced.
It is so easy to go through life working out solutions to problems, ticking off our ‘to do’ lists, and relying on our own abilities. After all, as vets, we are generally good at all of those things. When we do this, we miss out on so much of what God desires for us. We have been created to live in relationship with our Heavenly Father. This means we lean on Him, we trust in Him, and we let Him care for us and love us. As it says in Psalm 8:3-4