the bicycle: God’s humbling patience

i picture a young boy learning how to ride his bike. standing it upright, stepping over and placing his foot on the peddle for the first time, his face full of pride as His father speaks gently, “now, remain focused. keep your eyes straight ahead of you and you’ll do just fine.”

and as the boy pushes his free foot off the pavement below him, laughter fills the air. he is doing it! he is actually riding on his own. barely balancing, but riding nonetheless. it doesn’t take long for this ride to end, though, and he soon finds himself toppled over beneath the weight of the bike.

just as soon as he can look for his Father he finds Him crouched by his side, waiting to help him up. “you were distracted, weren’t you? you took your eyes off the goal,” He says matter-of-factly, with more truth in his voice than any hint of accusation. “but you can do it again,” He says as He rights the bike and hands it over. “let’s try it again.”

and after what seems to be the 100th time of doing this, the boy looks up from another painful fall, looking for His Father but not necessarily expecting Him to be there this time. for how could He continually be so patient with him? and yet, before he can even finish this thought, His Father is there, by his side once again, with a warm embrace and open arms to encourage the young boy. wearing a warm look of sympathy and understanding on His face, He says reassuringly, “I’m still here, and I’m not going to leave you.”

and the grace of His presence, as welcome as it is, is almost more shameful than the fall itself. his Father’s words are just what the boy needs to hear, but he secretly wonders to himself, “how could He be so patient with me?”

a place of clarity

it’s a challenge to put the feeling into words, but when you begin to see just how much you’ve been forgiven, with just how patient The Father has been with you, it’s hard not to be completely overcome with joy. overwhelmed by feelings of inadequacy and undeserving of such patience, certainly, but consuming feelings of joy nonetheless.

and it’s a rare place to be.

sometimes it’s after you’ve fallen off the bike for the 100th time. sometimes it’s just being in God’s Word and reading about his deep commitment to grace and forgiveness toward deeply-flawed people such as yourself. sometimes it’s seeing your own sin displayed in the lives of others. wicked, ugly behavior. the kind of behavior you can’t stand in others, yet which goes unnoticed in your own life.

whatever your path to this place of clarity, it’s an invaluable place to be. for, when we truly begin to comprehended the depth of His grace that is made available to us through Christ’s blood, we can’t help but fall deep in love with our Lord and Savior. thankful for His sacrifice, and for holding steadfast in obedience, even to the cross. and thankful to our heavenly Father for orchestrating our redemption, even at the price of His only begotten Son.

when we’ve reached this place of understanding, His love for us begins to come into focus, as well as so many other things. we begin, perhaps for the first time, to see just why someone would sell all they had to buy a field containing this buried treasure. we see how ridiculous it would be for us not to forgive the grudges we’ve been holding onto for so long, when the level of forgiveness that has been granted us from our King is infinitely greater. our feelings of pride and superiority toward others who are running the race alongside of us, those who are trying but failing, are replaced with compassion. for we realize that we are no different. try as we might, we too become distracted and fall. time and time again. and yet, His patience persists.

picking up my bike

i’m the boy in that story. and that’s my bike that His two hands are constantly placing right-side up after yet another fall, His calm voice encouraging me to give it another shot.

His patience astounds me, each and every day. it astounds me to the point where i truly can’t understand how He could be so patient. and yet, He is. whether i understand it or not, there i find Him, whispering to me, “I’m not going to leave you.”

and when i truly consider His patience, i find it’s not because of me at all. it’s not because of anything i’ve done or anything i will do. it’s because of what His Son has already done, for my sake. He paid the price of my shortcomings, so that The Father might have reason to be patient with me. so that He can give me another try. no, it’s not because of me. it’s because of Him. and for that, my heart overflows with gratitude.

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