God works in mysterious ways! What an utterly cliché and overused phrase! That’s until He really does!
The fact that I have struggled with Bike and Brain is no secret. I have had feelings of doubt throughout a lot of this process. How can we can continue to provide free bikes? How can we engage people? The doubts go on and on. I am the first to proclaim that these struggles are my own and may not reflect the reality of the situation. Perhaps they stem from self consciousness or a lack of belief in myself. Regardless, these feelings are real. In an attempt to overcome doubts I have always prayed over Bike and Brain. No matter what has been going on, I have always tried to keep a faith in Christ Jesus at the forefront of the project. Even with my attempts at obtaining spiritual intervention, I found myself frustrated.
Sometimes we think prayers should be answered instantly. Moreover, we think that we should get exactly what we ask for. Those are two mistakes. First, prayers are answered in accordance with the perfect timing of God. Imagine if a child received everything he wanted instantly. He would probably be in pretty bad shape. Death from sugar overdose, perhaps? You may indeed have a prayer answered, but only when it is right by God. Second, our prayers tend to be our request for things that we want. Although this is ok, we must understand that what we want isn’t always what we should have. Again, imagine if a child got whatever they wanted. They may end up with sharks, ninja throwing stars, or even new parents. these thing may cause more damage than good. We don’t always know best. Thankfully, God says no sometimes!
I remember a time recently where I had been struggling with continuing Bike and Brain. Donations were running low, the community rides weren’t happening, and no one had contacted us for a bike in some time. I even stopped praying for Bike and Brain. Deep into this doubt, I received a text from a gentleman in search of a bike. He explained that his name was Moises, (yes like the Moses from Egypt), he was about 5’11”, and would be willing to ride almost anything. Surprisingly, one of the bikes I had left was an old road bike fit perfectly for him (another story on this bike to follow). With one phone call, I was instantly re-motivated.
I began working on the bike as quickly as I could. We got it up and running and met Moises to give him the bike. The amount of gratitude expressed on his face was something I can’t describe. There was this unique, unspoken understanding that he was extremely thankful for the bike. What he probably didn’t understand, was my feeling of thanks for this answered prayer. Moises and the Blue Raleigh were a testament to our living God that does and will listen to us. God had created a masterpiece of perfect timing. The call from Moises, the interaction with Moises, and the building of this bike all occurred at a time where I needed motivation more than anything. A motivation I could not obtain myself. As I write this and reflect back on what happened with the Blue Raleigh, I am still in awe. God’s timing is perfect. God’s gifts are perfect and he loves us more than we can understand.
As if the above situation was not enough, Moises sent me a text shortly after receiving the bike and it is verbatim below.
“Hello, my name is Moises Barradas, I’m from Xalapa Veracruz Mexico. I came to NYC 4 years ago in order to pursue my dream of becoming a classical pianist and thank God I’m going to graduate this may of 2016. When I was a teenager I used to train mountain biking in Mexico, and I enjoyed it very much! A friend of mine Noemi, told me about Bike and Brain and the transcendent work of love through the concept of this organization that gives people what we need: health and generosity. Today I am very grateful with Bike and Brain as they helped me in the precise moment where I needed to decide between having an unlimited metro card or buying food… Thank you for spreading your love, this journey of Bike and Brain has a lot to give to the world, may God bless all the people who made this possible. And thank you very much.”
For now the door continues to be held open for Bike and Brain by our living God. Until he decides to close that door, I will continue to run through.
Matthew Ryan, LMSW for Bike and Brain