Our new riders

Three of my grandchildren learned to ride their bikes without training wheels on family vacation this year. The whole family lined up to witness as their first wobbly attempts turned into confident peddling and steering in this rite of passage.

I proudly watched the daddies—running beside their budding bikers with words of encouragement, a steadying hand, coaching phrases, and an occasional lunge to catch them before a wipe out. They couldn’t always get there in time, but after hugs and an occasional bandage the kids were back in the saddle for another ride around the cul-de-sac.

I remember the summer my dad helped me learn to ride my first bike. He ran alongside holding the seat until he felt me take off. To his chagrin, no matter which direction I was headed, every fall ended on the potatoes he had planted in the parking strip. By the time I mastered biking, the potatoes were a trampled mess. But he was proud of my progress, and the potatoes tasted fine.

This whole process speaks so strongly of God’s Father care of us. Just like children, we come in a variety of packages. Some of us are ready to rip off the training wheels and tackle the challenge—whether it’s a situation at work, at home, in ministry, in personal growth, or self-discipline.

Others of us quake at the prospect of losing our beloved training wheels. God has to urge us again and again before we finally let Him remove whatever props or security we think we need.

Sometimes we get a taste of success and become overconfident. Our Father has to caution us to “slow down,” “watch out for others,” or “use the brakes!”

What does your heavenly Father want to say to you about the “training wheels” in your life right now?

  • Have you been pushing God, wanting to get to the next step at work, in ministry, or a relationship and feel God is telling you to wait? What is at the root of your impatience—pride, worry, fear, comparisons?
  • Have you been afraid to let go of a relationship, habit, or a circumstance God is calling you to remove so you can ride free and unencumbered in service to Him? Can you give Him your fear and trust Him to hold you steady, and even catch you if you wobble a bit?
  • Have you recently been freed of your training wheels and gotten overconfident and maybe a little cocky? Are you watching out for others and following the “rules of the road?”
  • Have you fallen and threatened to give up or put the training wheels back on? Are you wallowing in self-pity? Have you decided you don’t really like bike riding and think you’ll walk instead? Have you made yourself busy doing other things so you don’t have to get back on?

I have reacted in all of the ways above depending on the situation, and God keeps working with me. I’m so glad we have a loving and patient heavenly Father who will take all the time necessary to get us moving at just the right time; at just the right speed. He delights in His children even more than we do ours.

He applauds your efforts and will wipe away every tear when you fall. He’ll hold you tenderly, speak encouragement, and give you a running start. For our growth and His kingdom.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust” (Psalm 103:13-14).

Let’s ride!