How did you learn to ride a bicycle?
I had a bicycle with training wheels – the kind that attached loosely, and would often lift off the ground after a minute or two of riding. I loved riding with training wheels – I would zip around all over my neighborhood.
And I still remember vividly the day my dad took my training wheels off my bicycle. I threw a fit and refused to ride. I couldn’t!, I insisted. I would fall off for sure. I wasn’t ready yet.
But my dad insisted. I’d been using training wheels for far too long, in his opinion.
Now, I’m nothing if not stubborn. I was not going to get on that bike without training wheels. My dad argued and pleaded with me for a while, but I dug my heels in.
So he turned to my sister.
My little sister.
Dad told her to give it a try. So she hopped up on the bike and took off. Without training wheels.
I was livid. There’s no way my kid sister is going to ride a bike before me! (Except she did.)
When she got back, I hopped on the bike and took off. No training wheels. And I flew down the street.
I actually did fall at the other end of the street when I was turning around. But it didn’t even phase me. I hopped back on and came tearing back. No way I was going to walk the bike back in front of my sister!
Dad put the training wheels away.
Now, there’s a lot there for my therapist and me to unpack, but I want to focus on my dad’s wisdom. He knew I was ready to ride without training wheels. He also knew that I was the only one who could get over myself and ride. He knew that falling wouldn’t kill me.
What at the time I perceived as a cruelty – taking away my training wheels was actually a loving test from my dad. He knew the time had come for me to ride.
Today, I want to ask a similar question of our relationship with God: do we trust that God is a loving parent who knows us far better than we know ourselves? Do we trust that God isn’t going to put us in situations that will destroy us?
These questions become real when we’re soaring down the street of life – because none of us gets training wheels.