Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us.” (Hebrews 12:1)
I was afraid I had caught it. We have all heard all we need to hear about the corona virus. Regardless of what magazine, newspaper, news program, talk show or person you talk to, eventually, the topic of this pandemic will come up. Nothing has so dominated the public’s attention like this, this, this disaster, this tragedy, this pain in the neck, this maker of our new normalcy…COVID-19. Oh, and I wasn’t afraid that I caught that. Nope…but I was almost certain I had caught its first cousin.
Did you know that the pandemic had a first cousin? Oh yes, it does. It is the dreaded…wait for it…pigdemic. Yup…you read it right. Pigdemic is a new phenomenon that is sweeping the nation. It happens when people are forced to stay at home for extended periods of time, bored out of their minds. In this condition, people eat and eat and eat. They eat things that they love, they eat things they like, they eat things they don’t like and they eat things they have never heard of. The consequences are weighty.
Clothes magically shrink while hanging in closets, mirrors suddenly make people appear shorter and wider, gravity seems to take on added strength when we try to get off of the couch and exercise becomes more difficult, much more difficult. And that is where I made a self-diagnosis. I had the pigdemic. It happened like this.
First, despite my shrinking clothes, I have managed to walk 2.5 miles, five or six days a week at a respectable 14 minute mile pace. Well, this morning, after walking, my wife was going to ride her bike. I decided I would join her. After all, riding a bike had to be easier than walking. So off we went! I was surprised when she was about 40 yards ahead of me and I was panting like a dog on a hot day. “Hmmmm” I said. She had to stop and adjust her seat (for which I am eternally grateful) and I told her, “I don’t know if it is because I walked this morning or maybe it is those pesky donuts but I am tired. This is hard.” She laughed and kindly said it was probably because I had walked. I was sure it was the donuts.
So we kept riding, I kept falling behind and I was pretty sure I was going to die. I was certain I had the pigdemic. I wasn’t ready to swear off donuts but I was close. Well, I had been hearing a noise on my front wheel (which sounded strangely like a pig squealing) but I didn’t think too much about it. I should have. I finally told Judy I was going to stop and check out the squealing pig sound. I did and it turned out my front wheel was off center causing my brake to be about half on. I loosened the front wheel and centered it slightly and got back on. Two amazing things happened. The squealing pig was gone and suddenly I could peddle a lot easier. A whole lot easier.
It turns out I was not about to die from the pigdemic. It was a brake that was braking when it should have been coasting. I discovered it is amazing when you ride a bike how much harder it is when the brake is on…even a little. A little braking can quickly break your spirit. I decided before I ride again I’m going to check my bike out a little closer and make sure there are no squealing pigs on board.
I wonder if that is what the writer of Hebrews had in mind? He encouraged us to lay aside every weight and every sin that might hinder us from running our race or riding our spiritual bike. I think it might be. The weights are things that may not be wrong for us but are just not helpful. It might be like riding a bike and carrying a ten pound rock in your basket…just because you like rocks. Sin, well, we know what sin is. If you are biking it might be like riding with a flat tire. Not a good idea. Whether it is rocks or flat tires, the bottom line is life is harder when we carry stuff that we don’t need or that can and will hurt us.
So, if you are riding your bike and there is a sound that sounds like a squealing pig, it probably isn’t the pigdemic. It’s probably a wheel off-center causing your brake to brake. If life seems a little more difficult, why not ask God and see if you have a rock or two in your basket or worse, a flat tire. Try praying this prayer from Psalm 139:23-24. “Father would you search me inside and out, run some tests on me, and see if there is anything hindering me, hurting me? Would you see if there is something that I’m doing that offends you? Would you lead me in a way that shows others I am on Your path? Thank-you Father. Amen.” Now that is one prayer that God wants to answer. He wants you to peddle through life with the wind at your back, a song in your heart and no squealing pigs on board. And when you get home you can rest in Him. Do you know why? Yup…He’s got this.