Joseph Herrin (12-26-2013)
Champ and the Catrike, 12/26/2013
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Some brothers and sisters have recently inquired about my recovery from my bicycle accident that occurred a little more than two months ago. I had broken some ribs and dislocated the index finger on my left hand. My ribs have been fully recovered for several weeks now. I cannot tell that I broke them as there is no lasting discomfort or loss of mobility. My index finger on my left hand continues to heal. The finger will easily pop out of joint if I put pressure on it the wrong way. I suspect I have stretched the tendons and ligaments and it will take some time for everything to “tighten” back up. This is a minor thing, however. I only occasionally do anything with that hand that makes me aware of the need to be cautious.
My daughter attended the funeral of Marcus Kauffman this past Monday December 23rd. She returned home to Georgia the following evening. I spoke to Kristin today and she is back at work trying to get caught up on some year end tasks as office manager of a local farm supply company. She told me she is tired, but it is not a physical tiredness. It is a tiredness of soul from having endured so much of an emotional trial over the 18 days Marcus was in the hospital. Please continue to pray for all those who are close to the family of Marcus and MaryAnn.
(Kristin has a birthday December 29th. She will be turning 26 years old. Knowing that she is feeling pretty emotionally wrung out at this time, if any would like to send her a birthday card, or a note of encouragement, you can do so by sending it to my P.O. Box. She is collecting my mail and will receive them.)
Some have sent letters and financial gifts through the mail in the past couple weeks. I have been depending upon my daughter to collect my mail as I am presently about a 5 hour drive away from the town where I keep a post office box. Because Kristin has been out of town my mail has stacked up in my mailbox. I appreciate all who have written, or sent financial gifts. Kristin is putting all my mail in a large mailer today and forwarding it to me. About the middle of next week I should be able to go through it all and send acknowledgments to those who have graciously sent support. Thank you for your understanding.
I had announced some weeks back that I was led to purchase a recumbent trike so that I could exercise Champ without the danger of crashing again. Champ is a medium sized dog, probably about 65-70 pounds, but he is very muscular and pulls quite strongly. I am sure this is a parable of the beast nature, for I daily find myself on the other end of the leash trying to keep a rein on him/it. As I am sure my brothers and sisters who are similarly engaged in ruling over the flesh can testify, the pull of the beast nature can be very strong.
Me - Champ - and the Catrike, December 26, 2013
Yahweh was exceedingly gracious in providing the funds to purchase a quality recumbent that will serve my needs well. They are expensive vehicles as they remain a niche item and do not benefit from the cost savings of large scale manufacturing. I prayed numerous times about the matter. I was very torn, as I am constantly aware of many who have needs and my desire is to assist as many as possible. I knew that Yahweh had given Champ to me and I needed to exercise him daily. I cannot walk him enough to tire him out, and I am unable to let him run free off the leash as he can be aggressive toward some people and other animals (he is quite friendly to most after he gets to know them). I believe Yahweh would have me to take care of Champ properly, and running him with a bike or trike has proven to be the most effective way to exercise him. There is the added benefit of giving me exercise as well.
After praying, I asked the Father to affirm His will in this matter of purchasing a trike. I had a peace about moving forward, and I prayed that Yahweh might send forth His provision to further affirm His will. A brother in Central America sent a generous gift around that time. In my acknowledgment of his gift, I shared with him my gratitude, and that with his gift I felt God was releasing me to begin looking in earnest for a suitable recumbent trike. Some days later this brother in Christ wrote me again and said that if the amount I had available for a trike was insufficient to purchase the one I wanted that he would like to provide the balance of what was needed.
I priced out the trike that I thought would work well. It has oversize balloon tires which gives it a higher ground clearance, as well as providing some shock absorption. This was important as most recumbent trikes ride very low to the ground and I frequently travel down unpaved roads that can be rutted and bumpy. I informed the brother that the trike I desired was $550 more than I had on hand, and he promptly sent me that amount.
Only after I had the money on hand did I contact the company that sold the trike. Upon doing so, I realized there were a couple of options that would improve the trike’s safety and utility such as lights, a flag, and chain ring guard (to keep pants legs from getting caught in the chain ring). When they quoted me a final price I was about $100 short of what was required. I prayed further about the matter, telling the Father that I would like to purchase the trike outfitted in the manner that I deemed to be safe and most functional. I asked again that He would affirm His will if it was his desire for me to purchase the trike. I asked Him specifically if He would send me the $100 needed, and that $200 would be better so that I would not spend the last dollar in my bank account.
The very next day I called my daughter and asked her to check my post office box. I told her I was very close to being able to order the trike and I wanted to see if Yahweh had sent provision to do so. Kristin called me later that afternoon and told me that there was an envelope in my mailbox. It did not have a return address. It had a handwritten note inside that was unsigned. It read, “This is for your trike.” Inside the folded note was $200 in twenty dollar bills.
I have no idea who sent this, but it had to have been sent before I prayed to the Father with this specific request. I was immediately reminded of the Scripture that states:
“It shall come to pass that before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear.”
After Kristin told me about this letter, I told her about my prayer the day before. It was a testimony to her, as well as to myself, of our Father’s omnipotent power and great grace. Truly it is written that His mercies are new every morning.
After my ribs healed (to some degree), and before I received the Catrike, I tried running Champ with my bicycle again on a number of occasions, but I never felt comfortable doing so. The experience is akin to being strapped to a rocket, trying to steer it and not fall off. Whenever Champ would see me walk near the bike he would get tremendously excited. He would begin leaping off the ground. As soon as I clipped him to the dog jogger he would try to take off, often before I was seated, or had my feet on the pedals. As soon as I was aboard the bicycle he was off pulling as hard as he could.
The experience is much better with the trike. Champ still is excited, but now he usually waits until I get seated before he takes off. With the lower center of gravity and the three wheels, I feel much more secure in the knowledge that Champ’s pulling power is more manageable and under my control. The trike also has disk brakes on both front wheels. I had never owned a bike with disk brakes before as they are usually found on high end bikes that were more costly than I wanted to pay. Having used rim brakes all my life, the difference in stopping power is very noticeable. I can bring Champ to a stop in a fraction of the distance I could before, and without fear of turning over.
Following is a video I put together of Champ and I running around the campground where I am staying on Jekyll Island, and then down the bike trail.
I have over 160 miles on the trike thus far, and Champ has run alongside me for more than 100 of those miles. It is great exercise for him, but I did not realize what a spectacle it would be. I notice people out walking who stare, or break out in a big grin. They will point to us to get friends or family to look. People driving in cars will slow down and ride parallel to us for a distance. It is not the trike that draws most of the attention. It is Champ. He runs with such enthusiasm that for much of the ride I don’t have to pedal. He is like a one dog sled team.
People just naturally like animals, and dogs in particular. I have been especially blessed when I see the wonder and delight on the face of children when Champ and I run by them. They are full of joy at the sight of him pulling hard at the harness, full of vitality, just enjoying being a working dog.
The trike did not come with an attachment for a dog, but I found a “Bike Tow Leash” on Amazon that is working out wonderfully. It was even offered in the same color as the trike, which is Bengal yellow (as in the Bengal tiger). I have thought this interesting to have my dog hooked up to a Catrike that is the color of a tiger and which has lights on it manufactured by Cateye. The Father delights to speak through parables, and riding on the Catrike in a recumbent position, representing rest, is symbolic of ruling over the beast nature.
Please understand, I do not believe I have arrived at a place of rest and victory in regard to the flesh. You can tell by the video that I am still in need of losing about 30-40 pounds. I believe, however, this recumbent trike is a testimony of what the Father wants me to set my mind to work on at this time. I have my dog attached to the trike, and he is under my control to a much greater degree than he was on the bicycle. I need to similarly rule over all the passions and desires of the flesh, buffeting my body and keeping it under subjection lest after having proclaimed the message of the disciples’ cross and a surrendered life to others, I myself should be disqualified. We all have a race to run, and have need of self-discipline.
There is a wonderful parable found in the account of Yahshua’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Yahshua was seated upon the foal of a donkey that had never been ridden before. This fact was recorded to convey a spiritual truth. Donkey’s represent the stubborn will of man. No man had ever completely subdued the stubborn will until Christ appeared in human form. He never did anything of His own initiative. He always did the will of the Father. When He rode the foal of a donkey that had never been ridden, He was demonstrating that He had fully subdued what no man had ever conquered before. This was soon afterward proven in Gethsemane as He cried out to the Father, “Not My will, but Your Will be done.”
This is the goal set before each of us as sons and daughters of God.
A New Section of the Bike Trail on Jekyll Island
I would mention another act of grace from the Father. When I broke my ribs I lost a full month of bike riding on the island. Riding my bike around Jekyll Island was one of the things I anticipated the most in coming here. I mentioned this to the Father one day while in prayer, though I was not complaining. It was more like having a conversation with a friend. A few days later the manager of the campground sent me an e-mail. It read, “Good news! The site you are in is available for another month due to a cancellation. You can stay until February 1st if you want.”
I remembered at once my conversation with the Father. Still, I responded to the manager that I would give him an answer in a few days. I wanted to seek the Father first and make sure that it was His will that I remain longer. I received an answer of peace in this matter, and the funds came in to pay for an additional month here, so I am planning now to return to Central Georgia on February 1st.
Before I end this update, I will mention the following, Champ has a lot of strength, but he is not a long distance dog. He can pull hard for a couple miles, then he begins to run alongside rather than pulling. When I take him on our long route which is about ten miles, I end up pulling him for the last couple miles. We make frequent stops, however, and he goes through two large bottles of water on the longer runs. I also purchased some Musher’s Wax for his paws, as I noticed they were very rough after our first few weeks here. The Musher’s Wax makes a big difference. His pads are now much smoother, and less dry. (It is available on Amazon.)
A righteous man has regard for the life of his beast, but the compassion of the wicked is cruel.
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