I’m a cycle commuter and find that being alone on my bike is often a great place to pray.
Yesterday was such a beautiful morning to cycle to work. Cool but not too cold with a clear blue sky and an incredible sunrise. I even wore my shorts for the first time this year! As I pedalled along the lanes, my mood was sky high and I really couldn’t help shouting out praise to God for such wonderful blessings!
This morning however, was somewhat different. It was cold, overcast, showery and I had a 15mph headwind to pedal into, all the way to work. 11.5 miles of it. Within a couple of miles my thighs were screaming and it was through gritted teeth that I managed a few cursory morning prayers.
Once I got to work, warm and dry with coffee in hand, I was reminded of a verse I read recently in the book of Habbakuk (who is admittedly not one of the most quoted prophets, but still…):
“Even though the fig trees have no blossoms, and there are no grapes on the vines; even though the olive crop fails, and the fields lie empty and barren; even though the flocks die in the fields, and the cattle barns are empty, yet I will rejoice in the LORD! I will be joyful in the God of my salvation! The Sovereign LORD is my strength! He makes me as surefooted as a deer, able to tread upon the heights.”
Habakkuk 3:17-19 NLT
It is really easy to remember to give praise to God when we’re feeling great. When everything is rosy and life’s going well. But when we’re down, struggling, upset or ill then it’s much harder to muster the energy for a prayer of thanks.
But even in the midst of all the trouble, there is always something to thank God for. It’s like Paul wrote to the church in Phillipi:
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”
Philippians 4:4 NLT
Always. Not just when you’re feeling good, but always. This is a tough call! But I think that even the smallest prayer of thanks offered when we are embattled might count more than a lengthier one offered in better times. God is after all interested in what is on our hearts and a heart that can worship when life is hard is a wonderful thing indeed.
So the next time I’m tired and struggling my way in to work, I’m going to make the extra effort to call to mind all of the things God has blessed me with that day. Things that I couldn’t possibly earn by myself.
Freedom, fresh air, my health, His Grace. The list could really go on and on…
Like the band Casting Crowns wrote in the song title that I shamelessly pinched for this blog entry, “I will praise you in the storm.”