“Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me. I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have sinned against him, until he plead my cause, and execute judgment for me: he will bring forth to the light, and I shall behold his righteousness” (Micah 7:8-9).
When I was growing up, my enemy was my bicycle. Okay, I know that having a bicycle should not give me that feeling, but you don’t understand. After I had drooled every time I even thought about having a bike, and I had longed for it for over a year, I finally got one for my birthday. You would think that I would have been more grateful, and I was, until that first time I tried to ride it in the backyard.
I started out fine, and even was able to get up some speed and soar through the air with the wind blowing through my long auburn hair, but then, the oak tree root and loose dirt met my tire and I did soar: over the handle bars and flat on my back on the ground, and the handle bar fell on my neck. My prideful wounded self, got up, dusted myself off and got back on to try again. Not! I stomped my way to the back porch steps and sat down beside my daddy.
Daddy was quiet and gave me some time to compose myself, then he asked me a simple question: are you ready to get back on, now? Hot tears fell down my cheeks and I whispered a sobbing, no, my neck hurts, Daddy. We sat in silence a little longer. After what seemed a lifetime, my daddy asked me, aren’t you ready to try to get on it, again. I won’t make you get on it, you can park the bike under the shelter, or you can give it to someone else, but I wish you would try again.
Another long stretch of silence, and by that time I felt peace. Okay, Daddy, I’ll try it just for you.
Gone were my previous fears that I would fail at learning to ride that bike without any training wheels. It was replaced with the desire to make my daddy happy because he had saved up for over a year to get that bike. He kept it at his mechanic shop, gave it a fresh coat of paint, and rebuilt it from top to bottom. I could finally be like other kids my age. I could finally fit in. I don’t even know now why it was so important to fit in, because I already had my daddy’s approval and adoration. He kept me safe from all that may harm me, and no one could have loved me more in his own way.
After that day, I never fell off of the bike again. When I needed to learn to respect things, he taught me how. The bike had gotten a flat tire and I needed to get it patched. Daddy wasn’t moving fast enough for me, so I decided to help him out. I rolled the bike to the service station and got it patched.
What I thought was a good thing, became a lesson in obedience, because I disobeyed my daddy. As a consequence, he took the wheel off of the bike, and didn’t allow me to ride it for a long time. I learned obedience and how to wait. It was so long that I almost had lost interest in the bike.
I never complained about it, but knew that my disobedience had disappointed him, and I was willing to wait as long as it took. He fixed it on my birthday. That day I felt grateful and fully forgiven. The damage had been repaired in our relationship and in my bike.
Today is Father’s Day, and if he was alive, we would have carrot cake, and laugh about the beautiful bike and the little girl who learned how to not quit. It is important to remember those life lessons that shape us to be the best we can be.
I give honor to the men of God who pour so much into our young people, so they too can learn. In this week’s Lattereign, we learn more about Raising up spiritual leaders.