I Don’t Know How That Works 6


As I wrap up my reflection of the inaugural edition of Front Range FREEDOM Tour I’m struck by the different narratives I hear from riders and supporters.

Some folks are certain God orchestrated every detail. Some believe it all came together because we worked hard or had good intentions. A few see a great, grand confluence of good fortune.

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Regardless of perspective, I’m struck by the certainty with which it’s presented. No doubt, no room for alternatives. The truth is what it is, and everyone else is, well, wrong.

Me? Seems like my most frequently used phrase is borrowed from one of the smartest men I know, Dick Foth.

“I don’t know how that works.”

I believe God is sovereign and in control. I believe His heart is broken by children trapped in sexual exploitation. I believe He could stop it. He doesn’t.

I don’t know how that works.

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I believe a beautiful day is a blessing from God. So what’s up with headwinds and 104° and riders who get heatstroke?

I don’t know how that works.

I don’t believe God wanted me to be paralyzed in a senseless accident, but it happened.

I don’t know how that works.

I’ve chosen to live by faith. Part of that choice is being willing to say, “I don’t know.” And even tougher is saying, “I don’t need to know.”

I’ve spent too much time and effort concocting tortured, convoluted explanations for events I don’t, and likely can’t, understand. I think God told us what we need to know, for now, and He wants us to trust Him for the rest. By demanding an explanation, I suspect I’m feeding my selfish desire to make myself into God. Seems like that’s sorta what got a guy named Adam in trouble a while back.

For me, “I don’t know how that works” affirms that He’s God and I’m not.

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So…what’s my narrative?

I believe God blessed our ride, but not because it exceed my expectations. I believe He blesses me every moment, in ways I constantly miss, far beyond what my efforts merit. It’s a mistake to pick out and say thank-you for the stuff I happen to like. Mostly I think we’re hoping God will give us more good stuff if we’re polite.

Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Note that it says “in” rather than “for.” I’m not thankful for my injury, but God’s still good when things don’t go my way. I don’t live that truth very well, but that doesn’t stop it from being true.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:12-13)

That last sentence is a popular inspirational verse, particularly the King James translation which says, “I can
do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” I wish I’d recorded all the times people told me after my injury I could do anything if I had enough faith, because Jesus would give me the strength. So…I’m still in the chair because I didn’t have enough faith?

I don’t know how that works, but if you read the previous verses, it’s not implying that Jesus gives an old guy in a wheelchair the ability to dunk a basketball if he prays hard enough.

It says I don’t face my circumstances alone. In good times and bad, the secret to contentment, humility, joy, and gratitude doesn’t come from my power and determination. I can face whatever I face because Jesus walks beside me.

I believe God always blesses and uses our effort for good when they’re rooted in love. Our team got to experience some of the immediate consequences, but most of the impact of the FREEDOM Tour will happen because God uses and multiplies our efforts in ways and places we’ll never see.

I don’t know how that works.

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