There I was, first in line. It was my turn to compete. I looked over at my opponent and noticed that we matched each other for size. The course was a difficult one. We were to ride down a very steep mountainside on a treacherous path and then back up the other to complete a large circle around the mountain. It was beautiful scenery, but a scary road. The only catch was this: we had no idea what vehicle would carry us on this journey. She reached into the cup and pulled out a folded piece of paper. Unfolding it, she gasped. She had drawn out, and received, a bicycle. Nervously, I reached into the cup and pulled out my slip of paper. It read “go cart.” I breathed a small sigh of relief as it was pulled up next to me. Just then, the whistle blew. The race had begun, but I was not ready! I had to put on the appropriate safety gear for the race! She had already mounted her bike and was off the moment the whistle pierced the air. I was still frantically pulling gear on. A full minute behind her, I fired up the cart and pulled away from the starting line, anxious about the time that had been lost. Not far down the path, I came across a ton of loose gravel and carefully navigated my way around it, still peering off in the distance trying to catch sight of my opponent. She was nowhere. I didn’t see any trace of her until I made it to the bottom of the hill. There she was, out of breath and out of energy. The hardest part of the course still ahead of us, she was spent. Her legs could carry her no further. I knew at that moment, the race was mine.
When I woke up from this dream in the early hours of morning, I heard two words: Multiplied Strength. Desiring an interpretation from the Spirit, I waited in His presence with my ears, mind and heart attentive to Him. And this is what I received:
There are many who begin the journey of ministry on a bicycle. Carried along by their own strength, they may make it great distances, but when the road dips into a valley, they find that their strength is spent and there’s no way they can make it out alone. But alone is how they started the journey, working in their own abilities. They are stuck there, in the bottom of the valley until help comes. They may have to cry out for a while. Then there are those who spend precious time in preparation. They become anxious about the ones who have already started on their journey, but know the necessity of equipping themselves. They climb into their go-carts and realize that the strength of this journey depends not on themselves, but the motor inside the car. They are able to navigate the most difficult situations with relative ease because they are simply responsible for steering. Giving thought to the ones on the bicycle, you can see that difficult terrain requires extra strength and balance. Not so with the one in the go-cart. And, in the deepest valley, the strength of the journey still depends solely on the vehicle, not the driver. The journey is made with little to no stress, just keen eyes attentive to the road ahead and hands responsive to the requirements of it.
This is us in ministry. This dream was actually a much-needed revelation. I was speaking to someone very dear to me about truths of salvation, trying desperately to battle the lies she had heard her entire life regarding God. And in the middle of our conversation I had a very startling reality check: I was in it all alone. I was grappling. Her questions were too deep and there was no peace in our discussion. Her fear and my frustration. I was on a bicycle peddling up hill. What I lacked was the Holy Spirit’s guidance, the peace of God, a shelter for her heart. I couldn’t provide any of these things. I know of them and can talk about them with the best of words, but I can’t show them to someone. It’s all on Him. And I had left Him out of the conversation by trying to go it alone. Not because I wanted to. I was just eager and confident. But self-confidence is pride and pride is a scary thing. A very disabling thing. I may have made it quite a ways in conversation, but I realized that everything I said to her was not being received and she was still holding all the lies and confusion in her hands. Here I was trying to unravel it for her and making no progress. It was frustrating. I thought she was being stubborn and not listening, but the truth is, though I was quoting scriptures and making a good case for Christ, I was not letting the Spirit of God drive me. All my efforts were in vain.
The Bible tells me that without Him, I can do nothing. Jesus’ words in John 15:5. If we remain in Him, we can do all things, without Him, we can do nothing. He’s our go-cart. We get in Him and His motor propels us onward. In ministry, there will always be ups and downs, and plenty of places for us to build up our confidence. In either Him or us. I would much rather be safely in Him than trying things on my own, exerting my own power and failing at every turn. Seems a much more comfortable ride with Him than on my own. And the truth is, even it we made all the way through the course successfully on our own, we still lose. The secret to traversing the mountain and winning is staying in Him. This is how ministry should be.
Many of us really struggle during the prep time. We know there’s some things we need to learn or put on before we start, but we get so anxious about the race, we have a hard time hanging in there while getting ready. Trust Him, it’s all necessary. And you haven’t lost any time, because with the Lord in control, you are guaranteed a victory. He can afford to take precautions because He knows what you will need on the way. Trust Him. Speaking to myself here … TRUST HIM!
And then, the truth is illuminated: This is multiplied strength. This is your strength and His strength working together. All that God has put inside of you meeting all that He is capable of. Multiplied strength. You enter ministry with the strength of God inside of you. The same God who formed the universe, crafted the hummingbird and the most beautiful of flowers. The same God who formed the mountains and the ocean. Who formed the intricacies of the human body. His strength and creativity working in you. Multiplied Strength. Without Him, you can do nothing. But, “…with God, all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)” Thank you, Lord, for the awesome illustration of my constant need for You and Your Strength!