Epiphanies, by any other name?

Today, on the Lisa Oz radio show, her guest (Elise Ballard) spoke of epiphanies. She defined them as revelations, sudden insights that give you power to change the course of your life. In her case, she described an epiphany that was about her ability to have children — that her fear of childlessness should not tie her to a man she did not love. Her epiphany gave her the freedom to leave her marriage.

Great, huh?

We Christians know the power of revelations. As the Holy Spirit lives inside his children, he provides an unending well of insight, though these insights are often accompanied by repentance (sorrow over our actions) and a dynamic, unexplained, heretofore unexperienced power to grow or change. I had one of these recently, and the indwelling Holy Spirit used the experience to encourage someone I love very much.

This someone is in crisis. In her eyes, the future looks bad, and the “now” is exceedingly painful. The past, which she has chosen to leave behind,  looks more and more enticing as the moments go by. I am afraid she is tempted to move backwards.  As we were talking the other night, I believe the Holy Spirit gave me insight into an experience I had recently. My own epiphany. Here’s what happened:

My daughter  and I were climbing a hill on an organized bike ride.  It had been a long and difficult day. Rain. Mud. Cold temperatures. Many difficult hills. Generally though, Maggie leaves me in the dust on those hills. But we hit one at the fifty mile mark that surprised us both. It was a short steep climb, the kind where you find yourself standing up to power through. At the top of this hellish hill, the road made a stark 90 degree turn. Maggie saw the road turn and gave up. She got off her bike and started walking. I’d never seen her do that.

At the same moment, I powered around the corner and finished the hill.

What was the difference? Surely not my fitness level, I’m 30 years older than Mags (and significantly fatter!). Here is the secret. I’d looked ahead and realized that the hill was nearly over. I’d spotted a mailbox up the road and decided, “I can make that mailbox.” It was hard. I was gasping for air. But I made it. Why? Because I’d spotted the end from the middle and I KNEW that that miserable hill wouldn’t last forever.

In emotional terms, my friend in crisis is in the middle of her own hill. She can’t see the end. The now is painful. She is gasping for emotional air, her legs are burning, and she doesn’t see how she can possibly finish. Part of her wonders, “Will this pain ever end?” She is tempted to get off the bike. To Quit. To. Give. Up.

I told my friend about our bike ride. And I reminded her of so many folks who go through dark difficult seasons. None of us know when one of those troublesome times will end. When the illness will end. When the marriage will get better. When the cancer will be pushed back. We are tempted to give up. To turn back. To get off the bike. When you are thinking that way, remember what I told my friend. My epiphany:

Don’t do it. Though you do not realize it, you may be almost to the top of the hill. You cannot see the end, but that doesn’t make it far away. It is simply out of your field of vision. Stay on the bike. Don’t give up. Breathe deeply.  Keep your eyes on the road in front of you. Tap into the strength which is greater than your own. Don’t be distracted by the view, or lack thereof. Whatever you do. Stay on your bike!

How about you? Do you regularly receive insight from the Holy Spirit? Care to share a story with us?


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