I love the word 'discovery'. And I love the process of discovery even more. One of my favorite things about backcountry bike rides in Honduras is visualizing what the Spanish explorers may have experienced as they made their first perilous treks through the jungles, forests, and deep canyons of this country.
I also chuckle a bit at the fact that across the Americas, holidays are given to celebrate Christopher Columbus’s very serendipitous discovery of the ‘new world’. His lack of navigational acumen resulted in a very unexpected discovery. And that’s the fun part of discovery. Often, human kind has the greatest discoveries when they are least expected.
And so it was with my bike ride this week. I grabbed my enduro bike and decided to crank out a quick ride from my front door before sunset. I did the very familiar slog up this long, dusty road. I can ride this particular section with my eyes closed since I know it so well. But yesterday, I decided to take a turn-off, that has long since intrigued me, up at the top of the hill near a town called Monte Redondo. The road quickly disappeared into a rooted, boulder strewn single track. The trail began with a menacingly steep climb which forced me to shift into the granny gear. The smell of pine and moist soil was a welcome fragrance after the dusty climb up the main road.
As I continued up this unfamiliar trail, I reached the summit and was astounded at what I found. I found a lake. And a farm house built like the ones I’ve seen growing up in the midwest. A big red barn with a steep pitched roof, which I have never seen here in Central America. There was also a sprawling mountain estate like the ones at ski resort towns in California. I would have never expected to find a barn, a lake, and a mansion along this rugged single track.
I’ve ridden past this turnoff probably a hundred times and have never made this discovery. Ironically, this lake scene is less than 10 minutes from where Fully Packed Adventure Ministries founder David Wildman broke his arm on his first trek down to ride with me.
This strikes me as a fitting analogy for my life as a follower of Christ and as a student of His word. Proverbs 16:20 says:
Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good,
and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord.
The Living Bible translation says in Psalm 119:18-20
Open my eyes to see wonderful things in your Word. I am but a pilgrim here on earth: how I need a map—and your commands are my chart and guide. I long for your instructions more than I can tell.
The more we study God’s Word, the more we discover unexpected beauty and understanding of our God’s nature. We can re-read a familiar text and for the first time, find ourselves confronted with the power and mystery of the Gospel.
My challenge to you is this: the next time you find yourself inwardly groaning at a sermon over a text you feel like you’ve heard a million times at church, pray for a new discovery. A new single track into an unexpected appreciation for the Gospel. The next time you feel unenthusiastic about picking up your Bible and slogging up the proverbial long, dusty road, ask God for a fresh desire to discover a new trailhead. Use your Bible’s cross-references and footnotes, and look for Old Testament perspectives on the New Testament. And discover how the prophets pointed forwards to the New Testament arrived of God incarnate. May your discover afresh the Gospel this week.
Thanks and God Bless!
PC: Matt Allen on an evening bike ride near his home in Honduras