And let us not lose heart and grow weary and faint in acting nobly and doing right, for in due time and at the appointed season we shall reap, if we do not loosen and relax our courage and faint. Galations 6:9 (Amp)
My son is nine years old, almost ten, and does not know how to ride a bike.
It’s not that he has never had a bike. No, the truth is, he received a brand new bright and shiny bicycle for his fifth birthday. He was so excited. We were so excited for him. It was a splendid day really.
I remember the eager anticipation mixed with mommy anxiety that stirred within as we headed toward the main road to “learn how to ride.” Anticipation of one of those lifetime milestones in the making, I was prepared, camera in hand, to capture on film my son’s first successful moments on his big boy bicycle. The stickers were already chosen and the scrapbook page layout in mind.
My son took a deep breath and hiked his leg over the side balancing on his tiptoes a broad and toothy grin upon his face. My husband stationed himself beside in the “ready to push” position, one hand upon the back of the seat and the other on the handlebar; together they began the process. Running, pedaling, pushing, falling and crying…these were the reoccurring events which captured the moments that unfolded before my eyes. I am almost certain that I recognized the exact moment that my son understood that this was not going to be as easy as he thought it was going to be.
I stood back, an awkward observer, wishing I could be more helpful. I feebly shouted encouragement as opportunity provided. “You can do it!” “You are doing great!” “Don’t give up!” Unfortunately, the pain and subsequent fear of falling became a huge hindrance to my son. Each time he got on the bike all he could think about was falling. This caused him to be so tense and fearful that he was unable to pull himself together enough to actual pedal and balance at the same time. Eventually, the practice session ended with all of us deciding that perhaps a break and a fresh start on a different day was the answer.
That new day came and there were other practice sessions. Unfortunately however, they all turned out the same way. Eventually, my son decided that it just wasn’t worth it to him to go through the pain that was required to learn how to ride his bike. We pleaded, we prodded….we begged.
As parents we faced a dilemma. We knew that if he would just stick with it that eventually he would get it. However, for our son, the risk was greater than the potential payoff. The payoff that he had never experienced which seemed so much less tangible to him than the stinging of his scraped knee which resulted from his most recent fall.
He refused to continue to try. He no longer cared if he ever learned how to ride a bike. Our patient encouragement melted into frustrated irritation. What was the right thing to do?! Was it acceptable for us to just allow him to quit trying?
What we eventually came to realize…after much trial and error, is that we could not force our son to learn how to ride a bike. After bribing, enticing and even threatening we came to the conclusion that there are some things that only we as individuals have the ability and power to do. We must choose to decide that the proposed payoff is worth all of the effort, all of the pain and all of the risk involved. No matter how much we wanted our son to learn how to ride a bike, the bottom line was that until he wanted it as much as we wanted it for him there was nothing we could do. That day has not yet come…I wonder if it ever will.
As children of God we are faced with many opportunities to quit, to give up, to succumb to failure and disappointment and to decide that the potential payoff of God’s promises are just not worth the risk of what is required. There are moments of frustration when we are faced with “this is not as easy as I thought it would be.” Love the unlovely, forgive the unforgivable, having done all to stand, stand firm….
And the bottom line for all of us is that we do have the choice to stop trying. If we do however, we will never experience all that the Lord has for us. We will never receive the payoff that He has promised us. The pay off that He knows will be so “worth it” to us- of freedom, of peace, of joy,- all that He desires for us to have and possess. From the side lines, even now He is shouting, encouraging, cheering you on “Do not grow weary in well doing, for you will reap if you faint not.”
Abba Father, thank you for helping me to always continue in that which you have called me to even when it is hard. I thank you Lord that you are my strength in weakness and in and through you I can do all things. Father, I am thankful that you are a keeper of all your promises and you have promised that I will reap if I faint not.