by Heather Bock
When I was in college in Seattle, I went on a blind double date with a friend of mine. The boys were the adventurous type and decided it would be fun to rent tandem bikes and go on a long ride down the Burke-Gilman Trail. They probably thought I’d be up for that since I was athletic–a collegiate runner. They didn’t know that running was the extent of my athleticism and that I had never had any desire to enter a triathlon. The trail was paved, but alongside of it ran a small dirt trail for most of it, and these guys thought it would be more fun to ride on that part instead of on the tame, flat, main part. It was Seattle, so of course, it started raining. The mud splattered, and stupid me, I was wearing a white shirt. I think you can guess that no second date occurred.
Riding a bike next to someone takes a certain amount of coordination, but I learned that day, riding a tandem bike with someone takes trust and complete cooperation. You’d better hope you’ve chosen a good partner before you climb onto the back of one of those vehicles.
Krishana Kraft, author of Tandem Living, submits that we’ve been called to ride on a tandem bike behind the God of the universe. This is at the same time the most challenging task we’ve been given and the biggest privilege. Once we climb on that bike, we won’t be in charge of steering, although we might try to by leaning one way or the other from the back. We might try yelling directions. We might even drag our feet on the ground to stop momentum and even get off for a while. However, if we were a good partner, we could ask whether we might go one way or another, but we would try (as I tried on that terrifying Seattle ride) to pedal at the same speed and stay in sync.
A tandem bike isn’t like one of those adult bikes with a place for a child to sit and “pedal” on the back. It doesn’t matter what that child does or doesn’t do–he has no choice in going along with his father. I don’t believe God has us on a trailer bike. Instead, amazingly, as on a tandem bike, He allows us to take part in what He’s doing. However, He is in the lead, and sometimes, as we try to cooperate, He leads us off the safe, clean, paved trail.
In Tandem Living, Krishana vulnerably tells her story of trying to cooperate on a tandem bike ride with God, a ride so adventurous that at times, it was more like a tandem parachute jump with Him. Her story involves leaving a respected, stable job doing something she loved to raise support to live as a missionary in Austria. In the middle of that already challenging journey, she learns tandem living to a whole new level when she finds she has cancer and has to pedal hard uphill at times and at other times, let God take over the pedaling entirely. Then, she has the challenge of learning to pedal in sync again after no pedaling at all. Although she struggles, I was inspired to watch her go on her journey with faith and grace never far from her side.
Although Krishana tells her story with humor and without glorification of the suffering, I have to say it was very hard at times for me to read the parts of her journey fighting with lymphoma. The treatment she had to undergo was similar to what my sister Tiffany had with leukemia. Although Tiffany’s fight was many years ago, this story brought me vividly back to when I used to visit her in the hospital and when I was briefly her caregiver. However, as Tiffany didn’t often share her innermost thoughts and as I was a fairly self-absorbed college student at the time, I unfortunately saw her cancer through the way I felt about it more than anything. This book helped me get a glimpse into what she might have been feeling, giving me a new perspective on the sister I won’t get to see again until Heaven.
This beautifully written book is full of insights helpful for any Christian learning how to ride in sync with God. I hope you’ll take the time to read it yourself. In fact, you can click HERE to buy your own copy. May we all aim to cooperate with God on our journey, pedaling in rhythm with Him.