“It’s not the years honey, it’s the mileage.”
The long, long, long state of Montana is behind us. Our first thousand miles are behind us as well. Three states are finished and twelve are before us. The last three states got us in shape for the states that lie ahead. Also, we are now out of Mountain Time Zone and in Central Time Zone. We are only one hour away from the time at home in Georgia. That in itself feels like a great accomplish- ment!
We did a lazy start today after going to breakfast and saying farewell to Brook. She headed west and we headed east. She headed to Wolf Point and we headed to Williston. She just called (7:08 P.M.) from her destination and said she had a good day even with the ever-changing winds of the plains.
Right outside of Culbertson, we stopped at the Culbertson Museum and found it to be very interest- ing. Mostly it was about the Culbertson area and how it started and grew. The most interest- ing part of the museum was an old caboose outside. It was moved to Culbertson from Great Falls twenty years ago. While in a rail yard in Great Falls it became the home of a hobo. When he died, railroad officials went inside to find that he had illustrated all the walls with the book of Revelation. Every possible surface inside was illustrated in color. Of course the rest of the museum was interesting but the caboose was the best.
Once we started pedaling we knew we were in for a fairly easy ride and a short one as well. We pedaled only 42.21 miles on rolling hills with a few minor climbs. While going through a construction zone we were stopped by a flagman to allow some equipment to cross the highway. As we pulled up to him he smiled, stuck out his hand, said, "Energy," and handed each of us an apple Jolly Rancher. It's been some of the little things like that that have added to the joy of this ride.
We made it into North Dakota at 1:12 this afternoon. As we moved across the state line we also moved from Mountain Time to Central Time, so we're not sure if we got to North Dakota at 1:12 or 2:12! Either way, we're here and we're now headed to Minnesota!
When we got into North Dakota the first thing we noticed was that we had smooth, wide shoulders on which to ride. That situation deteriorated the closer we got to Williston. The shoulders here have a lot of gravel but maybe outside of town where there is less traffic we'll not have to deal with that. Anyway, the wide shoulders are nice to have.
As we ride we are always hearing and seeing birds. We hear the noisy Canada Geese, the quacking of the ducks as we frighten them from roadside waters, and the tunes of the Red-winged Blackbirds. Being out here seems like we're in a bird-watchers paradise! They are everywhere! When I see them, which is all the time, I am constantly reminded that Someone is watching over us.
When Jesus went up into the mountains to teach his disciples, the crowds followed. This is typical for Jesus. That's why, in the Scriptures, we find Jesus always trying to get away to some peaceful and quiet place. It seems like it seldom worked because the crowds always found him wherever he went. Such was the case this day when Jesus used the birds as a teaching tool. In Matthew 6, Jesus is teaching, "So I tell you, don't worry about everyday life -- whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn't life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don't need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly Father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not" (verses 25-27).
We know we are valuable to the Father. We know we are being watched. We know he cares for us. This is very comforting but it doesn't mean we aren't careful and we don't plan ahead. It means that we trust him for every mile as we travel. Someone said, "God feeds every little bird but he doesn't drop the food into their nests." As we do our part he is always faithful to do his. We don't have to worry because it doesn't help and it doesn't add a single moment to the trip. When Adrian Rogers was speaking at our church years ago he said, "Worry doesn't take the sorrow out of tomorrow, it only takes the joy out of today." I imagine if I did start to worry some little bird would fly over whistling the tune to "Don't Worry, Be Happy." Just a little reminder from above, I'm sure.
His eye is on the sparrow!