There are good things and bad things about being married to a cyclist who can zip down the street fast enough to break the speed limit in school zones. The good things: the man and his bike. The bad things: all other moving objects in his path.
I know Daniel is conscientious about being safe and following the rules of the road. But I have no such guarantee about the other people behind the handlebars—or behind the wheel—he may encounter along the way.
So when he was late returning home from a recent ride, I admit to being a little nervous. I was relieved when I heard the back door open and he came in to give me his customary sweaty hug. But then I saw that his leg was scraped up and he had a decent-sized gash on his elbow. I immediately started fussing, but it became clear that he wasn’t the least concerned about his body. All he could talk about was his bicycle.
Apparently he had been clipping along the trail when another cyclist darted in front of him. There was no way he could stop in time. Fortunately neither party sustained significant injuries, but Daniel’s bike had taken a beating in the collision.
“Now my bicycle is out of true,” he lamented.
“Out of true?” I asked. I wasn’t familiar with the expression, but something about it resonated with me. “What does that mean?”
“Well, if your wheel is out of true, it no longer rotates straight,” he said. “There’s something just a little off about it.”
I came across a similar concept in the book of Amos, of all places. This prophet was called by God to deliver a difficult message to Israel and Judah about the coming judgment. Amos received several visions from the Lord—analogies of sorts to give the people a visual about their sin and the consequences. One of these visions was of a plumb line—a measuring cord that has a weight attached to it. Apparently, before the days of high-tech gadgets, builders used plumb lines to test if something (like a wall) was perfectly upright. Or out of true, you might say.
I saw the Lord standing beside a wall that had been built using a plumb line. He was using a plumb line to see if it was still straight. And the Lord said to me, “Amos, what do you see?”
I answered, “A plumb line.”
And the Lord replied, “I will test my people with this plumb line. I will no longer ignore all their sins.”
Out of true. It’s not just bicycles and walls and ancient people groups that veer off ever so slightly until they’re no longer upright. So do we. We get out of alignment just a little bit, and before we even realize it, we’re off course. We need to get adjusted—and the sooner the better.
Thankfully we have a God who doesn’t just wag his plumb line at us, pointing out our crookedness. He willingly rolls up his sleeves and does the repair work necessary to get us in line again. Because of his grace, we can be back in true again.
I’ve taken the challenge of reading the Bible chronologically this year and tracing the thread of grace through it. These musings are prompted by my reading. I’d love to have you join me: One Year Bible reading plan.