Just over three years ago, in the early stages of the Covid-19 shutdown, I decided one chilly March day to relieve my cabin fever going for a bike ride on the B&O Trail near my home in Brownsburg, Indiana. My goal was just to hammer out a few miles and burn off some pent-up energy at a time of day when there’d probably be few, if any, other people on the trail.

I was crankin’ along pretty well when all of a sudden I came upon a message written in chalk on the pavement in front of me.  As I raced past it, I could see that it said, “Pause & Listen”.

I don’t know why, but that message really caught my attention.  So, putting on the brakes, I hopped off my bike, walked back to that spot, and followed its advice. I took off my helmet and, for a couple of minutes, I just listened to the breeze whispering in the bare trees along the trail, and to a lone bird enthusiastically announcing its presence nearby – things I would have missed if I hadn’t stopped. It was refreshing.

Funny, isn’t it, how sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the busyness of life that we miss the simple beauty around us? That’s why I so appreciate the wisdom of Psalm 46 in which the writer calls us to, “Be still, and know that I am God.” (verse 10).  Unless we’re “still” every now and then, we’re not only likely to miss the beauty around us, but to miss the very voice of God speaking through it.

There’s a classic old hymn of faith, “This Is My Father’s World” with a stanza that proclaims,

This is my Father’s world;

    the birds their carols raise;

The morning light, the lily white

     declare their Maker’s praise.

This is my Father’s world;

    He shines in all that’s fair.

In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;

    He speaks to me everywhere. 1

So, think about it for a moment: Whether in cycling or in life as a whole, are you just “hammering out the miles” right now? If so, why not take a moment to “pause and listen”. It may take a little while to still the noise in your head. But if you listen long enough, you just might hear the voice of God.

1 “This Is My Father’s World”  Lyrics: Maltbie Babcock (published posthumously in 1901). Tune: “Terra Beata” (“blessed earth”) by Franklin Sheppard.

Dave Marty is a retired pastor who lives with his wife, Mary, in Brownsburg, Indiana. They have two beautiful daughters, two great sons-in-law, and two creative teenage grandchildren. In addition to cycling (including unicycling), Dave also enjoys gardening, Scrabble, hosting Holy Land tours with Mary, and tutoring kindergarteners at a nearby school