One of the best childhood memories I have was my Dad teaching me how to ride my bike. He would run behind me holding onto the seat to make sure I would not fall. I remember looking back to see if he was still there and he would tell me "Iím not going to let you fall." I never can remember falling the whole time Dad was teaching me but I remember falling several times later on.
Our walk with God sometimes seems to take this same path. When we are young in the Lord we are care free and full of faith as long as we can feel His presence near us. He walks along beside us holding our hand, teaching us, and even correcting us from time to time. But there comes a time in all of our Christian lives when we are faced with the reality that God has left us. We turn around looking everywhere and he cannot be found. Why would the Lord leave us all alone?
Well, Dad wanted me to learn how to ride the bike, he did not want to run around behind me all day long holding the seat. The simple truth to this is that when we are children we need to learn how to do certain things like walk, talk, eat, and even ride a bike. But these are all things that we should learn as a child and then move on to bigger and better things in life like driving a car. These are basic skills that a child needs to acquire in order to function as an adult.
That is why you turn around one day and realize God is not standing right by your side. He has seemed to disappear and cannot be found anywhere. The truth is that he has withdrawn himself from you because you are at a growing point. A point in your life spiritually where you need to walk a few steps on your own by faith. You have to understand that faith will never grow unless it is exercised like a muscle. Faith must be used daily and has to be pushed to itís limits regularly for it to grow.
I was talking to a friend of mine a while back and we got on the topic of exercise. I had been walking on the treadmill trying to lose some weight and he pumps iron regularly so we found ourselves talking about working out. He began to explain to me about muscle growth and the goals he was trying to achieve. He was trying to gain weight through building muscle and I was trying to lose weight by burning excess fat. His goals were spread out across the next several years because he knew he could not build his muscles rapidly. Some athletes today take steroids and other things to stimulate their muscle growth but my friend is doing it the correct way so it is going to take a while.
In order for a muscle to actually grow stronger you have to put it under an intense amount of strain, that is why body builders lift weights. You donít see them sitting around eating doughnuts and drinking coffee every day, they work hard and put their body under a lot of pressure. This all produces the results we see in the form of muscles.
Our walk with God works on the same principle. Before our faith can grow it must be put under some intense pressure. In order for that to happen God has to step back sometimes and let us walk a few steps on our own. This is what is commonly referred to as a trial of your faith. Such trials can come in many different ways but always push our faith and trust in God to the limits. We feel like God has abandoned us. We want to trust him and believe in him but it becomes hard to do so because of the intense pressures of the trial. We are pushed to the limits and it would seem like our very world would crumble while all along we are frantically searching for God because he is no where near us.
My Dad knew if I was going to learn to ride that bike there would come a time when he would have to let go and let me drive. He knew I would fall, he knew I would hurt my knee, but he was always there when I would look back and he would always say "Iím not going to let you fall". The truth was he knew there would be a day that I would fall, but he was helping me grow and teaching me to not give up.
What few memories I have of my Dad have stuck with me through all these years. I have pondered on them many times. The last memory I have of my Dad was the soldiers folding up the flag on his casket. I was seven years old and I did not understand what was happening. I did not realize that Dad was gone for good and he was not coming home again. I stood as the soldier walked over to me and placed the folded flag in my arms. I looked around trying to understand, trying to figure it all out. Dad was no where in sight. But today I can still hear him say ĎIím not going to let you fallí.
My grandma took the flag that day and I did not see it again until she passed away in 1997 and I received the flag to keep. A memory I will never forget lives on with that flag and a message from my Heavenly Father rings loud and clear to me today. When you look around and you donít see Dad he is not gone he is just simply letting you grow.