As is was riding along I thought about how the bike ride was like the spiritual journey of the soul. It got me thinking about how I care for my soul, my spiritual health and fitness and how we can care for our souls. How is your soul? How is your spiritual health and fitness?
When the seagull stole my toast, I thought about Jesus who said, The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10) Sometimes when we are not looking Satan will try to steal our joy or peace. As the father of lies he will try to discourage us and, if he can, to damage our souls and spiritual health. Has he stolen something from you? Is there something in your soul that needs attention because he has been pecking away at your life?
If that 14km ride had been on the flat, I could have ridden it easily, it was the uphill that quickly wore me out. However, if it had been flat, I would have missed out on some wonderful views of the Bay of Islands. At times our spiritual life is hard and feels like an uphill slog. It isn’t always clear to us why God hasn’t made it easy. Sometimes, God is helping us to reach new heights in our spiritual lives and to see things we have never seen before. In Isaiah we read, As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:9) Perhaps through your struggle and effort you will find yourself gaining height and drawing closer to God’s higher ways so you are able to see life from a new perspective.
For me the scariest part of this ride was downhill in gravel. I felt right on the edge of falling off, I didn’t dare break too hard, that would have been disaster, but I couldn’t allow the bike to pick up any more speed because I would have lost control. Sometimes in our spiritual lives we find things going out of control, beyond us and all we can do is just hold on. To Joshua God said, Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (Joshua 1:9) Perhaps when we feel close to falling, it is then we learn about the presence of God who upholds us and through this we develop strength and courage.
Haruru Falls was a place to rest for a while and put me in mind of the 23rd Psalm. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. (Psalm 23:2–3) Over a lifetime we are not always near the green pasture and quiet waters, but at times God allows us to have such times of rest. This is the rest Jesus promised when he said, Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. … I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matthew 11:28–30)
Perhaps this week you could consider the well-being of your soul and be intentional in how you will care for it. Allow yourself time to read the bible and pray. Meditate on a biblical truth and consider how it applies to your life. Pay attention to your spiritual appetite and not just physical appetites. Consider how to spur yourself and others on to love and good works.
What helps to restore your soul – can you find time for that this week?
Rev John Malcolm