by Devin Porter, 2022 missionary (rider on Ohio Route)
After arriving back home in Marquette after the National Ride, my main thought was what a blessing of a week it was. To finally meet a bunch of people you’ve only spoken to over zoom once a month for four months, and then learn to love them like true family in less than a week… What an incredible blessing. I hope to one day be half as charismatic, joyful, steadfast, mission-driven, and generous as the people I had the pleasure to ride with.
When God called me to embark on this insane mission, my selfish, stingy, fearful heart took hold quickly. And when I realized I was called not just to Biking For Babies, but to actually ride the bike 560 miles in six days!? I looked up at the Lord and rolled my eyes; “Yeah, whatever.”
But being the King of Kings, Christ humbled me. Before I knew it, I was painfully swiping the card to buy the bike, get the safety accessories, and put my butt on that saddle, even though I knew I’d rather be doing a thousand other things. Those months of training, in the midst of planning a wedding, were tough, stressful, and a lot more expensive than my selfish heart could bear. By the grace of God alone, I made it there.
But the Lord wasn’t done humbling me yet! No, there was much more to come. After riding so well for 520 miles over five and a half days, and becoming plenty full of myself in the process, I was forced off the bike by heat and higher priorities. Everything in my heart and soul wanted to ride that bike in 112° heat until I fell off and passed out. I’ve worked so hard for this! Heat exhaustion be damned!
But it was never about me. It was about the moms. It was about the babies. It was about this broken world.
I had to swallow my pride, stay alive and well for my beautiful wife, and withdraw with just 40 miles to go.
I was devastated. I poured a cup of ice water on my head and it hit me – it was over. I just cried. And cried. And cried.
My wonderful team picked me up, of course. I was loved well, encouraged strongly. But I was so confused. The whole point of this ride was to suffer in some tiny sense of solidarity with the great difficulty that mothers in need must face. “Remember, the mamas can’t get off the bike” was appropriately repeated ad nauseam. So why would the Lord let this happen to me?
Well, Chloe had the perfect response to that question. This was firstly about the moms who can’t get off the bike, yeah. But one can easily forget – what about the moms who were forced off the bike? Who lost their beloved children to miscarriage, and were powerless to stop it? As someone who lost a sister to exactly that evil, it struck a chord deep in my heart. I realized what a selfish fool I had been, so focused on my own accomplishment, and realized the solidarity I had been called to in that moment. No amount of hills, heat, hospital trips, or other physically demanding actions could have come close to the pain I felt the moment I was forced off that bike. For my mom, and all those moms who have suffered miscarriage, know that I cannot even begin to fathom your suffering. But in that moment, I had the smallest taste, and it taught me just HOW little I know of your pain. It finally became clear why the Lord put me there at that moment.
I was humbled once more, my hard heart softened, when we met Sierra and Bryson, a couple who were homeless and pregnant. While every alarm went off in my head at first about scams and lies and social engineering, we were able to help some people in genuine need, and I once again had to take a look at my broken self. But by the power of God, I know that this doubtful heart will be formed more perfectly in His hands. Jesus, come into my heart!
To my teammates, I love you all, and thank you for being who you are.
To everyone else, I love you, and I implore you – be humbled by the God who knows you better than you know yourself, loves you better than you love yourself, and desires to, by His great power, form in you a heart to match His own. I know I need to.