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My NYC Bike Ride & The Atheist Bellman Who Inspired My Faith

18 days before another tragedy struck NYC as a truck ran over bikers on the NYC bike path, I was biking along that very same path, and in the beginning of the day I posted something on Instagram as I joked about "praying for us not to get hit". My sister Heather usually has to keep me informed on national news because sometimes I miss a lot of what is happening because of my schedule and forgetting to check news.

Tuesday morning she text, "Did you see what happened in NYC this morning?"

My heart sank and tears filled my eyes as I immediately thought, "That could have been me and Brittany."

A couple of days before Brittany met me in NYC I stayed at a hotel in Brooklyn and (obviously) became best friends with the bellmen there. One was named Michael and other staff told me he was an atheist.

"Michael! You're an atheist? Like, legit you don't believe in God?"

Michael replied with a grin, in his warped British Irish New Yorker accent, "No I don't believe in God. You're F***ing crazy if you really think he exists."

Why though? What's your reason? I looked deep into his eyes and asked him.

"Why would this so called "loving God" let things like hunger, murder, and corruption happen to the world then. If He really existed, wouldn't he stop all that?"

Answering this question or sharing what I responded back to Michael is not what this blog is about, so I'll post another time with some resources and solid truths about that for Michael and anyone else reading. But, THIS is a question that people ask when tragedy like what happened in NYC takes place.

And one thing I want to say is HOW GRATEFUL I am that the day I decided to be in NYC was not the day that scumbag rented a truck and decided to run people over for the cause of whatever he believed in. I am grateful that Brittany and I made it safe and sound back to our hotel without any injury and that up until this point of my 33 years, The Lord has kept me. Because of that I know I have purpose and I will live it out. This is WHY I know He is alive, there are MORE times than we even know that we dodge death, and don't even REALIZE it. Every day I make it is another reason to believe God is REAL and taking care of me. Even in the midst of al of the garbage, He is STILL worthy.

I will not let tragedy like this instill FEAR or anxiety into my spirit. I will not let hate and murder cause me to be prejudice or assume all people from any group of people are the same. I will not hate the murderer and I will not curse the terrorist (although I did call him a scumbag... but I need to PRAY for him!).

I will lift up my eyes to God's holiness and ask Him for the grace to not only love deeper but to reach people with His love faster, stronger and more passionately.

How can we love the terrorists? How can we guard our hearts from bitterness? How can we overcome fear of things like this happening all the time?

I am praying for Michael and his FAITH. I am praying for the families who were victims and lost their precious loved ones.

Love y'all, Haley

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