I was about 7 years old, and a lady from the bookstore offered my mom a brand new bike for me. It was shiny red, with a royal blue seat and black handle bars. I'll never forget the day she pulled into our driveway and unloaded that bike for me. My eyes sparkled with delight over this gift; it was a big deal to get something new, and not to have a hand me down.
The catch was: I didn't yet know how to ride a bike.
It wasn't until probably a year later I really learned to do it. I wanted so badly to learn, for my daddy to teach me to ride. When the day arrived that he took me out to teach me, I was so excited.......
I got on the bike excitedly, but scared.
He held on to the back seat, and rolled me down our slightly inclined drive( which then turned to gravel). And I pedaled. He held on and it was a success! I was riding! The problem is....he had to let go, so I could really learn to do it alone.
I crashed, Head first into the huge tree in the yard.
I don't remember if I cried or got scraped up, but I clearly remember hitting the tree. Then I remember getting back on and my daddy once again helping me conquer this task. He continued to let go and I pedaled farther. Then I realized i could do it! I was riding a bike! Thanks to Mrs. Day for a brand new bike, and my daddy for teaching me.
I was recounting this story to my kids this past week, and in so doing was reminded that life is often like learning to ride that bike.
New opportunities get handed to us, and we have to learn how to handle them.
We have to choose whether to quit or keep going when it gets hard or when we fall down.
We have to choose whether or not to keep trusting the One guiding us, even when it gets bumpy.
When a smooth incline turns to gravel, will we keep going or will we halt to a stop?
When a giant tree knocks us down or blocks our path, how will we conquer that obstacle?
The more we pedal, the farther we can go.
I didn't know it then, but learning to ride that bike many years ago taught me life lessons I will recall forever, just as much as it gave me a precious memory. One thing that struck me as I thought on that was this:
My dad HAD to let go of my bike seat, or I never would have learned. What a painting of a picture of my heavenly Father as well. He allows me to "keep riding" my own way sometimes. But He is there all the time to pick me up when I call on Him. And in those moments of "hitting a tree" because I get stubborn or scared, I learn. I have learned the hard way by hitting large trees and creating many scrapes and scars on my own heart. But God has been there to pick me up every time, just like my own dad was back then.
Isaiah 41:10 " Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."
Perhaps you can recall learning to ride a bike as well, metaphorically or not. Does that verse mirror your story at all?
While God lets us choose our own ways at times, He is always there to hold us up with His hands. He never really lets go.
One day at a time.....keep pedaling forward.