We have a family friend named Bill who has been an avid cyclist for years. When he heard my son TJ was doing a ride called the Triple By Pass he had some great advice from his own experience. He lamented on how the first time he did the 100 plus mile ride with over 10,000 feet of elevation gain he went out way too fast and bonked before the last climb and had to abandon the race. He passed on to TJ the slogan, “spinning is winning,” which means put it is the easiest gear and spin away so you can save your legs to finish strong.
When Patty and I were back in the States we were able to head up to the Rookies and cheer TJ on. We positioned ourselves in strategic spots to hold up the sign and remind him “spinning is winning.” As we were waiting to cheer him on before another big climb we noticed some riders were laying on the ground in exhaustion, still others were putting their bikes on the car rack and calling it a day. They went out too fast and furious and their legs failed them. TJ followed sage Bill’s wise advice and powered up the final pass because he still had fresh legs from spinning.
Bill’s phrase has been in my mind since that day in Colorado and it preaches powerfully not just about biking in the mountains but the journey of life. When I look at the hall of faith in Hebrews 11 there is a list of hero’s that kept spinning up some pretty big spiritual mountains and they were able to finish the race marked out for them. People like Noah who worked on a boat for 120 years before the rain came. And how about Abraham and Sarah who waited almost 25 years for the promised child Issac. You could add Moses to the list of spinners who waited 40 years in the wilderness until he finally got the call. We could consider a host of other heroes of faith that kept spinning and persevering when it looked like they were being left behind by the world.
In God’s economy it’s not how you start the race but rather how you finish the race. It all about perseverance and endurance keeping your focus on the end game as the author of Hebrews says:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith,” (12:1-2).
Our friend and Oceans board member Steve travelled back with us to Africa recently to encourage us to keep spinning. God has given him a new slogan to live by after a heart attack just over a year ago, “Finish Strong.” Our last day together we climbed up one of my favorite prayer spots and talked and prayed into finishing strong, to keep spinning until we have finished the race for the glory of God.
Life has been an up hill climb for many over the last year. It might feel like you are just grinding up a difficult mountain while it seems others are zipping by. Keep spinning with your eyes on Jesus as your goal, listen the those heroes of faith cheering you on and by God’s amazing grace and love you will “Finish Strong!”