Fixing Bike Chains and Making Miracles

Our motley crew made the unwise decision to take a bike adventure down a close trail one Saturday afternoon. The bikes were all flat from lack of use over the winter. I had to take my son and fill all the tires. We thought we were ready to go….but we hadn’t really test-driven the bikes.

But it was too late.

We were already well down the trail when the chain of my son’s bike started to fall off the gears. Once, twice, finally, we had to stop and I took a look. From my untrained eyes, I could see the guide for the gear shift was rubbing against the chain, and it would always be a matter of time, no matter how many times we replaced the chain, that it would fall off again. What should I do? Was our bike trip a fail?

I looked again, and thought, if I wedged something between the bike frame and the gear shifter, I could get it to hold long enough to have some sort of a trip. It worked for a while, and all was happy, until it wasn’t.

The chain fell off again. Clouds started to form, and rain started to fall. Oh great.

I started sweating, the younger ones started to complain. “Why did I let them convince me to take them on a trip?”

Just then, a biker stopped to ask, “Can I help?” My gut reaction was, “No, I’ve got it. I just have to make it last long enough to get the home.” I wonder now if I looked more desperate than my cool answer. The biker insisted again, “I can help.” I stopped, and looked up. He took my cue and added, “I’m an engineer.”

I let my guard down, and agreed. How was I actually thinking I was going to get them home, I”m not sure. But God probably knew I had no idea, and sent help.

The biker parked his bike and walked over to join us. The little ones crowded around to watch. He talked as he worked. “I can see your gear shift has been twisted.” He grabbed the ring and twisted just a few centimeters. “If I move it back, it should do the trick.” My mouth dropped. That was it? My son stooped over to try the pedal and test the chain. Sure enough, the gear shift no longer grated on the chain. Two seconds to fix something that had taken me nearly an hour to just patch-fix. I looked down at my greasy, black fingers, a mixture of sheepishness and gratitude passing over me.

The biker stood up, wiping his fingers on his pants. “You’ll still want to take it in to get looked at, but that should get you home.”

Everyone in our caravan shouted, “Thank you,” as the biker cocked his kickstand back up and pedaled away, waving back at us.

“Was that a miracle?” one of the kids asked me.

“No, miracles are bigger.” answered another.

I paused to consider the question. “I think, it might have been. A small one, but definitely a miracle.”

We kept talking, and an idea started to form. Maybe that is how God works. He needs each of us to be a part of his miracles. Today it was a kind biker-mechanic, who allowed his kindness to connect him to God to create a miracle to help a hodge podged bike caravan of kids and a frazzled mom get home safely.

Sometimes, it’s the weather, moving clouds and water and stone to open seas.

Sometimes it’s an ally in unexpected enemy territory who provides safety and sustenance to save the life of someone who will turn the tide of history.

When we talked about the day, one of the kids concluded, “Work smarter, not harder.” Maybe that’s the point right? We should all work with God’s larger orchestra in mind so we are all coordinated in our efforts.

Who knows how God is working? Most of the time it’s hard to see that far or wide. But what we can do, is constantly seek that connection in our heart to what He might be asking us to do at that moment for another. And respond.

Like the biker-mechanic.

We got home safely, pink-cheeked and inspired of how God had shown Himself that day on a haphazard bike-trip that had been saved by a little miracle.

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