Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Learning to ride a bike...

                In June of 2003 I watched as my daughter Christina, not yet 5 years old at the time, learned to ride a bike, or as the kids used to say, a “two-wheeler”.  It was quite an exhilarating experience for all of us!  To start off I need to mention that she had had a bike for over 18 months, and would ride up and down the gangway for practice.  She had really been putting on the speed and it was becoming obvious changes were near.  On Saturday, only an hour before Grandpa was to leave for Colorado, we took the children to the alley for a little more biking freedom.  Grandpa mentioned that the training wheels hardly touched the ground as she sped past one time.  I knew then it was time.  I called Christy over and removed the training wheels.  She was so excited, until she approached the new two-wheeler.  “Daddy, hold on to me close and don’t let go!” my little angel commanded me. 

                We slowly started out wobbling first to one side and then to the other.  I thought to myself, “I wish she could be more confident.  I know she can do this.”  I began instructing her, “Christy, you have to pedal or you won’t balance.”  Grandpa told her, “Christy you need to go a little faster”.  Meandering back and forth in the alley, with the sun beating down on me, I started to sweat.  We kept encouraging her to move a little faster.  “Christy, you went 5 feet all by yourself!”  I encouraged.  As we turned around and positioned the bike in the center for another run I gave her a gentle starting push and she surprised us by taking off like a bullet.  She was easily ten feet away from me before I had a chance to catch up.  Then she went down. Just as I caught up to her she went sprawling down.  Fortunately she had only a scratch on her right palm.  I spent the next 5 minutes comforting her.  I suppose some would say we need to stop, but I like to try again.  I felt like if we quit now, the fall would become bigger in her mind, so I pressed her to try again.  Though she was clearly unhappy with my plan she went along with it as long as I stayed really close. 
                This time she seemed to take more care as she accelerated, not wanting to leave her Daddy in the dust!  As she saw I kept up, she went faster.  I had to give a corrective nudge right or left as we went along but she was doing pretty well.  Now she clearly became more confident.  Christy decided quite suddenly it was time to stop and said so.  But instead of my slowing her down as I expected, she slammed on the brakes proving their effectiveness beyond doubt!  I went careening over, but was able to halt without running her over.  She didn’t even know what had happened! 

                I write all this to share something. As I was busy running my legs off in the alley, a thought occurred that I wanted to share with you.  I have often thought the parent child relationship is analogous to our relationship with God.  In a very real sense that is true.  Which of us hasn’t asked God in a commanding manner, “Hold on to me close and don’t let go!”  We all long for the protection God affords; yet we want it and more on our conditions. 
                One of the most reassuring attributes of our God is his immutability - the inability for Him to change in any aspect.  For God to change would be for Him to admit that He is not perfect in all His ways and being, and then would, by definition, not be God (Deuteronomy 32:4).  Consider the ramifications of this, when we look at His choosing, before the foundation of the world who are His children (Ephesians 1:4).  Oh, how often we doubt salvation because it appears to be in our hands!  Once we realize that His choice of each one of us is a surety, we could never doubt, since it is tied to his immutable character.  If God chose you, he WILL not let go! (John 10:27-29)

                Also think of the confident light step we have when we are in vital union with our Lord.  I feel like I’m walking on clouds when I’m in close fellowship with Him. "When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory he sheds on our way."  But just as my daughter can become over confident and take off like a bullet away from Daddy, so we leave His path on our own way toward sudden destruction.  (Isaiah 53:6)
                The beauty of this analogy is that it breaks down.  Although there are many similarities in the parent-child relationship, one of them is not true.  As parents, we all fail along the way.  Our best is sometimes only mediocre and our worst…well we don’t want to think about that.  God never fails along the way.  As we may trip up and find ourselves sprawled along life’s highway, it is never because God has failed (remember Deuteronomy 32:4 above), and quite frequently due to our willful choice to take a path which is clearly not His path for us.

                Fortunately, we can ask Him for forgiveness and renewed direction and know He will answer in our favor.(1 John 1:8-9)  Our children can be God’s instruments to teach us His plan. Let’s all thank God for the angels in our lives, our children, and the reminder they can be to our very most important relationship, that of the Lord!

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