It’s like riding a bike, as the old saying goes. Once you’ve learned how to do it, you never forget. We’ve reached that developmental stage in our family. Our daughter Janine asked for a new set of wheels. After much scouring of newspaper ads and scrutiny of bank accounts, dad and daughter set off in search of a bike. Soon the journey ended, money changed hands and the secondhand bike became our firstborn’s pride and joy. That was the easy part.
Janine’s old bike had training wheels. Before that she enjoyed the stability of a toddler’s tricycle. The old bike stood upright on its own. The trike didn’t wobble. The new five-gear, drop-handlebar, fluorescent flamingo paint job, however, suddenly looked more like a nightmare than a dream machine.
A new world beckoned: a world of excitement, enjoyment and freedom. But this world of adventure could not be entered without pain.
During a morning that contained more spills than thrills, one thing was clear. While Janine could ride without help or hindrance from dad once she got started, the hardest step to take was the first. It was the initial push of the pedal that was proving so difficult. This rite of passage would have to wait for another day.
To be fair, it’s not as easy as it looks. There’s a lot to contend with. There’s the weight of the bike, the coordination of the body, the dread of falling. After all, there’s nothing so easy as falling off a bike.
To many people, living out the Christian faith appears just as daunting. Jesus offers us a world so new, so exciting and so different that He describes it like being born all over again.
Jesus offers us freedom. He promises a journey with a purpose, His company through life’s ups and downs, and His comfort when we fall. But somehow that first step of faith is so hard to take.
We want to hold onto what we know and hand ourselves over to God at the same time. We’re attracted by forgiveness, but held back by fear. We’re afraid of missing out, yet afraid of messing up. We are going nowhere fast. We are in turmoil.
But we don’t have to struggle alone. “Do not fear,” God assures us, “for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10). In him we have a heavenly Father who holds us, guides us and encourages us to leave our fears and launch out in tandem with Him. After that first step, you’ll be on your way!
Nigel Bovey, The War Cry, U.K.