I did not take the above photo, nor is my story about a bicycle but it does involve blackberry bushes. Those of you who live where blackberries grow need no description, but just in case you are a city dweller let me explain that blackberry bushes are very prolific and it is impossible to 'bush wack' through them. Their vines grow fast and tangled and while one of them is supple - though VERY prickly - they are difficult to cut back and quickly grow back again if any root is left.
We used to own acreage in the country and blackberry bushes were quite happy there. We had a driveway, coming off a cul-de-sac, that sloped downward to the edge of a very steep ravine - almost completely vertical 300 feet down to a creek. Because of a major land slide we had a few years prior, nothing had yet grown back on this slope except blackberry bushes.
One day my husband decided that he would chain up our older car, that had a dead battery, to our newer car and pull it up the driveway hoping that he could get it to start. I took one look and played out the 'obvious to me' outcome. "If that chain breaks, that car is going to roll right off the driveway, down the ravine!"
It was one of those husband "I know what I'm doing" times, so I just shook my head, bit my tongue and went into the house. It was only moments later when my husband came in with a sheepish look on his face. I knew immediately what had happened.
Yes, indeed, the chain had broken and the car went down the ravine. I followed him outside and could not even see the car until I walked close to the ravine edge. Looking down, I could see that the full weight of the car was supported by nothing but blackberry bushes and the front bumper was just below the ravine edge.
My husband called a wrecker and asked how much he would charge to pull a car out of a ravine. "Oh.. I'll do it for twenty dollars," he replied .. It wasn't long before he was on our yard and hooked his pulley to the car but he couldn't pull it out ... the angle was too steep. So he had to call a friend of his who had a hoist on his truck and could lift the car up into the air and then swing it back onto the driveway.
Because he had quoted $20.00, he stuck by his price, for which we were very grateful... and hoped it was an experience to add to his list of ..."You'll never believe this job that I had .... " stories.
How often in life we 'live on the edge' of danger, thinking nothing will happen to us. We ignore God's warnings and choose to live according to our own desires, declaring "I know what I'm doing!" God allows us to do things 'our way', even though He knows it will get us in trouble.
Even as we are setting ourselves up for a 'fall', He puts blackberry bushes in place that will not allow us to fall farther than from where He can rescue us.
While my attitude was less than supportive, but rather , 'I told you so... now fix it yourself!", I am so humbled - and grateful - that God never takes that attitude with us.
When we realize we have messed up, gotten ourselves into trouble and we come 'sheepishly' to Him to ask for help, He is always more than gracious and forgiving and willing to help us get back on track.
And always, His price is something we can afford - far less than we deserve to pay.
"But You, O Lord, are a shield for me,
My glory and the One who LIFTS UP my head..
I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me
from His holy hill."
from His holy hill."