Reflections from a Fall

For the past few months I have been training for the Century ride –  a 100 mile bike ride from Babylon to Montauk.  I joined the Suffolk Bike Riders Association and was part of Bob Goykin’s group. Bob and Josie have been members of COS for well over 25 yrs and have been training riders for 30+ years.  They are knowledgeable, well-skilled, and compassionate people who have seen lives empowered and changed by training and completing this marathon event.  In addition to their steadfast encouragement to the group of 25+ cyclists, a couple of riders from COS, Eian and Mario had completed the Century ride with success.  Why not me?  At 61, why not now?

After the initial 25 mile ride, I thought I would pass out from the physical stress.  10 weeks later, I had endured the 80 mile ride and did a 50 mile training with Bob this past week.  On  Saturday, the rider was ready. The bike was not.  Somewhere in Bluepoint, the bracket holding my seat broke.  Within seconds, I  fell and blacked out. The next thing I remember was being questioned in the ambulance.  Later on, a CT scan and xrays revealed no internal injuries or broken bones.  PTL!   I was left with back and shoulder pain, road rash on several parts of my body, and  emotional bruising that came in the form of deep disappointment.

I didn’t ask God why.  Thinking about the fall I came up with three possible explanations:

  1. God caused it, because he wanted to teach me a lesson, strengthen my character etc.  This was a test of my faith.  e.  Would Nicholas trust me after the accident.? (I did and do)  Or Cycling had become an idol in his life and it needed to be taken down.  (Seriously?   I have searched my heart –I do not believe that God sent some angels to take me down, to inflict pain, etc. )  Of course God allowed it.  God allows lots of things to happen in this world.  God is also merciful. The important question for me was: how will I respond to what has happened?
  2. Satan is responsible for my fall. After all, his m/o is to kill, steal and to destroy.    In Job’s case, God allowed Satan to torture him to see if he would curse God.  After coming out of my stupor, I started singing – Your praise will ever be on my lips, ever be on my lips…and I know thqt You see everything, Your love is stronger than my pain.  If that was Satan’s goal, he failed.  I was teary when I saw Joy and Kirsten.  They wanted me to succeed.  I let them down.  But I do not believe I was taken down by the devil or one of his minions.
  3. My fall was a result of living in a fallen world. Bad things, even tragic things happen to both righteous and unrighteous people because we live in a world that is permeated by the effects of sin.  Metals snap, bodies become infected with disease, accidents happen.  We fall because of the Fall; which was inaugurated when Adam and Eve decided to live independently from God.  As a result God pronounced a curse on them and a curse on the tempter as well.   Sin was released into the world to wreak havoc.  People will argue that Christ redeemed us from the curse and that bad things should not happen to God’s people.   But Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, which refers specifically to our salvation.

Yes, Jesus bore our sin and sickness on the Cross.  Healing is provided by the atonement.  By his stripes we were healed.   (I Peter 2:24) However this does not mean that followers of Christ will not go through hardship.  As David said in Psalm 37:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them out of them all.   Jesus put it this way:  John 16:33  In this world, you will have trouble… but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. 

I do not believe God orchestrated my fall, though he allowed it. The devil did not have his way – though he likes to do things like this.  I fell because I live in a fallen world.  In light of what happened, I choose to place my trust in the God who at that moment – gave His angels charge over me, to keep me.  (Ps. 91:11)

I am so grateful for all your prayers. By God’s grace I will get back on the bike.  I really enjoy this form of exercise and love riding with a groupI am looking forward to the Century ride in 2019 – care to join me?

Riding to finish,



  1. josephine goykin : June 11, 2018 at 4:29 pm

    Bruised but not Broken…

    You are an amazing athlete & your accomplishment is no small deal! Your commitment to the hard work of training over 640 miles at a grueling pace for weeks of hills & headwinds was always done with a smile. This was not missed by the other riders.

  2. Colleen McCallister : June 13, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    Such courage you have!

  3. Marcye Coogan : June 13, 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Even in your down times you manage to inspire. You are such a blessing to us all, Pastor Nicholas! I used to ride my bike often. At age 63, why not again? hmmmmmm 🙂 <3

  4. Silvia Accardo : June 14, 2018 at 8:11 pm

    We are very proud of you! You’re setting a great example for us all.

  5. Rosanna Walther : June 14, 2018 at 8:19 pm

    Dear Pastor Nicholas,
    Keep in mind that all those miles logged in training including a 50 and 80 mile ride are major accomplishments. Kudos!!

  6. Charlie & Marie Stronconi : June 14, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    We’re so glad that the injuries were not very serious. As you said “Bad things, even tragic things happen to both righteous and unrighteous people”. So the question is… It’s not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us. It seems to me that you are handling this setback in a way that honors God!

  7. Mary Ann Strepka : June 14, 2018 at 9:09 pm

    As always, praying and interceding for you.!!

  8. Montauk or bust✌️Maybe I’ll tail you in 2019…prayers for continued healing and revelations.

  9. Alberta bartunekl : June 15, 2018 at 12:11 am

    You are amazing, loved, an overcomer, Child of the King and beloved pastor. What God allowed, has become a pulpit from which you have been able to proclaim the goodness of God and be an example of how to have victorry over disappointment. May God continue to heal your body quickly and completely so that you can “finish the race” next time!
    Rooting for you,

  10. Yvette Colon-Strugnell : June 15, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Thank you Pastor. That was very well said and I agree with you. Please don’t stop riding! So glad you found something you truly enjoy doing and the bonus it’s good for you. The wisdom and anointing that rests upon you, has been a true blessing to me as well as to so many others. Keeping you in my prayers…love you and may Our Lord Jesus Christ continue to use you for his glory, keep you safe and bless you and family always. Love you Pastor. Yvette

  11. God truly uses ALL things for the good. Thanks for your example of steadfast faithfulness to Him in the midst of trouble. You’ve used your difficult situation to glorify Him. What an encouragement.

    “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 🙏🏼

  12. Hello there!! So glad you are getting up and doing it again. You are truly the redeemed of the Lord and you said “so” well. 😃 Angels are surely watching over you….see you soon

  13. Gary Tulaba : June 15, 2018 at 2:37 pm

    Is it too early to talk about training wheels. Sorry, lol.
    Michae Jordan once said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed.
    Get back up Pastor Nick and ride on, we trust God!

  14. Marilee Somerville : June 15, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    Your honesty, tremendous faith and God given wisdom, so encourages me in my own walk with The Lord. Thank you for sharing your experience with us and setting such a good example for your congregation. I am so thankful and grateful to have you as my Pastor. I love you and your family. God bless you into eternity .

  15. Charles Delirod : June 15, 2018 at 9:41 pm

    Dear Pastor Nicholas I cannot tell you what an inspiration you have been for me and I’m quite sure for the members and the people who attend church on the sound. You’re writing helps me to reflect on all the times that I have fallen physically and spiritually and I am so grateful to God to have such a wonderful Pastor like you who can give us understanding on how we should be when bad things happen to us. I will read this letter many times.PS.I will read this letter to my children in Sunday School this week.God bless you and your family

  16. Glenn and Kathy Petraitis : June 16, 2018 at 12:51 pm

    Pastor Nicholas, you are a true inspiration to your family and your church. How wonderful for you to write this blog and teach us the proper response to our difficult days. You have brought glory to His Name and Glenn and I are so proud we are part of your flock.
    Eighty miles, fifty miles – what an accomplishment and in the face of this trial, you continue to praise your King. God bless you always and we will continue to pray for your healing until every pain and bruise has left your body. Be well, be glad and be ready for the next ride in 2019. Love you much.

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