I became an avid cyclist this summer - riding my new mountain bike to work and back every day. It is a ten mile trip one way, and through this exercise (and eating less - see my post on gluttony) I have lost 30 pounds this summer!
Where I live, there is no provision made for cyclists in traffic - that is, there are no 'bike lanes' and lanes are narrow enough in some places that it makes it dangerous for a cyclist to ride there. So it is that in my city cyclists ride on the sidewalk a lot. It is not legal to do so, but the law is not enforced at all unless an accident takes place. Should an accident take place because the cyclist was coming off a side walk into traffic, the cyclist is always at fault because he had no legal right to be on the sidewalk.
Now having started riding my bike this summer for the first time in twenty years, I have been the "model citizen" of cyclists - stopping for almost every stop sign, and never, ever running a light. Yet I began to let that slip a bit, and, because it seemed safer to do so, I rode on the sidewalk a lot. Conviction came, but I allowed myself to believe that it was okay because it was one of those laws that wasn't being enforced.
So I found myself yesterday, traveling eastbound, on the sidewalk, and crossing a major intersection. A lady was turning right on a red (which is legal where I live) from the southbound lane of the intersection to westbound lane. I would have to drive directly in front of her van, but the light for east and westbound traffic was green, and she was slowing down to wait for an opening so that she could turn right. So I entered the intersection in front of her, but her attention was on the traffic coming from the other direction. She saw an opening, and accelerated, and in so doing broadsided me.
Now, if you are going to get slammed by a motor vehicle while riding your bike - may I suggest that minivans are the way to go? I was hit simultaneously in the left shoulder, elbow/forearm/ ribs, and thigh - but tumbled off her grill, with what must have seemed a surprising grace, as I found myself immediately on my feet, I picked up my bike from where it had been thrown into traffic, and engaged the terrified lady who was by now out of the van and quite concerned that she had actually hit someone.
In the moment I was hit, I knew that the Lord had sanctioned it - He had convicted me, and when the Lord's hand is upon you for chastening, you just know it. So I must have seemed ridiculously cheerful - and I was - I was so thankful for God's chastening me with such a light hand! I could have been creamed, but I came out with a few welts and scratches. The poor lady must have thought I was delirious - I think the smile on my face must have been disturbing - but I knew that the Lord loved me, and in the strength of that mercy and love I knew my repentance was immediate and full - I wasn't going to ignore the Lord anymore - and that made me happier than a man should be who has just seconds ago bounced off the hood of a van.
All I can say is, Praise the Lord! We exchanged numbers in case there were any complications - but after I had been home last night for a half hour or so, I decided to call her and reassure her that I was perfectly fine.
It was a wonderful thing - This is the third time the Lord has had to correct me in some unusual way - but every time it happens, the love of the Lord washes the whole thing - it has given me such instruction each time - especially in how to correct my own children. Boy, there is something about being hyper-aware that God loves you, that makes all correction, however bitter or painful - it makes that same correction not only bearable, but a time of close fellowship that drives the heart to repent.
Praise the Lord!
Daniel van de Laar