How are you enjoying the island so far? I hope you are as enchanted by it as I am.
Today we are moving away from the downtown area. If you remember downtown, or Main Street, is where everyone starts because that’s where we get dropped off. Whether you ever explore anymore of the island is completely up to you.
Up until about five years ago I never did and then one year Patrick and I decided to take our bikes with us and ride around the island. It is eight an eight mile trek around with many beautiful places to stop on the way.
We started out eager but not sure what to expect.
One of the first places you come to is Arch Rock. The only problem is that to get to Arch Rock you have to climb a ghastly amount of stairs. We decided to go for it. As we climbed I started to get tired and as other people came down we asked them if it was worth it. They said absolutely. So we pressed on.
Once we reached the top and stood looking at the rock formation that God so uniquely designed, we agreed, it was worth it. As you peek under the arch you can see Lake Huron crashing onto the shore, it was beautiful.
After a few minutes of enjoying the view we headed back down and got back on our bikes. We noticed that many people had stacked rocks from the shore, kind of their way of saying they were there. This year when we took our kids around the island for the first time we stopped and created our own stack. I told the kids it’s like an Ebenezer. If you have sung Come Thou Fount, maybe you wondered what Ebenezer means (besides being a Scrooge). Here is a explanation I found:
Verse two refers to an “Ebenezer” or monument (literally, “rock of help”) being raised to remind the singer of all the ways God has helped him, by keeping him safe in the past, and on his way to heaven. Jesus is characterized as seeking him out and protecting him, presumably from hell, again by the Crucifixion. (I found this information here.)
All along the shore are these stacks of stones but I like to think of them as Ebenezer’s and it reminds me of how God is with us and will continue to be with us.
As we road along some people stopped when we did at various places, some people kept riding, others passed us as we went a slower pace and sometimes we passed others
when we went faster. That’s the thing about Mackinac, you set your own pace.
On our first bike ride something cool happened. When we stated out the waves had been crashing against the shore but as we rounded a curve you couldn’t hear the waves anymore. We got off our bikes and went down to the lake and the water was so calm. Such a change, just going around a bend in the road. Simply by going around the bend the wind changed and the ride was easier and the waves stopped crashing.
We continued around until we ended up back where we started, in downtown. I remember sitting in Marquette Park, happy but exhausted. I turned to my husband and said, “There’s so much more to this island that
we haven’t even discovered.”
Getting away from downtown and going around the island opened my eyes to all the island had but I still hadn’t touched it, explored it and I wanted to. I wanted all the island had to offer.
So, let’s take this apart a bit and see how this is like our spiritual lives. Maybe you have already put some things together.
As we move away from out basic Christianity 101 we might feel a bit nervous and excited. We can’t wait to see what God has in store for us but yet we are afraid of what He might have as well. It might take us out of our comfort zones.
As we go along our journeys we may have detours that can discourage us at times, that might wear us our. That is when we need our brothers and sisters who have gone before and we can ask, “Is it worth it?” And they will tell you, “Absolutely.”
This will encourage us in the difficult times to press on, lean on God, not our own understanding.
Sometimes on our journeys we may feel others are progressing in their faith faster, or better, than us. But we are each one our adventure with Jesus. He has the perfect plan of you. Never compare your pace to another. We will all reach the same destination but in God’s time. So when you feel you are lagging behind take heart, soon you may be passing others. Be an encouragement to them.
Along the way raise a few Ebenezers. Praise God that He has brought you this far and He will continue to be with you as you journey on. Be encouraged by other’s Ebenezers as a reminder of how big our God is. He is so big He can be with you and with them.
Sometimes you will ride into the wind and the journey will be difficult but know that just around the bend it is calm. You never know when you might reach that bend, it could be a day, a month, a year away, but the bend it there and the calm will come.
But what do you do when you end up back where you started? Share your joy with those who haven’t ventured from Main Street. Maybe they don’t know what they’re missing. So tell them. Give them pointers and guidance so their journey can be successful.
Then you need to realize you have only gone around the island. There’s a whole interior yet to be discovered, you need to go deeper to fully appreciate this great island. Are you ready to go deeper? There are many hills, but there is much beauty.
See you next week.
Have you raised any Ebenezers lately? Have you had times when want to give up and someone has come along and given you hope? We would love hear about it 🙂