My 6-year-old is learning how to ride a bike. We took his training wheels off a while back but other than a few isolated attempts with my husband or me holding the back of his seat as he pedaled, he hasn’t really wanted to learn. I’m not sure what changed. Maybe it was learning that his friend in Kindergarten knows how to ride a bike with no training wheels or maybe it was watching his younger brother and sister become more and more skilled on their bikes with training wheels, but yesterday he decided he wanted to try again.
Instead of doing our regular routine of me holding his seat and running along side of him, he wanted to do it all by himself. So, for about an hour yesterday I watched my son sit on his bike and attempt to get both of his feet on the pedals before the bike began to lean to one side. You can image how unsuccessful he was since the bike was not moving while he was attempting this. Eventually he moved to the top of our not-so-steep driveway to try to gain some momentum so he could at least glide on the bike. At best he made it two feet before the bike began to fall.
As I stood there watching him, I tried to offer him encouragement. I told him that no one had ever learned to ride a bike on his or her first day. He looked at me with a big smile and said, “So if I learn this today it will be a miracle?” I smiled and replied, “Yup, pretty much.” That was just the energy boost he needed. I could tell in his mind he was going to be the first kid to learn to ride his bike on the first day.
Spoiler Alert: he didn’t learn how to ride his bike yesterday. He did get a better feel for what it feels like to balance without his mom or dad holding the seat. He is one step closer to riding his bike. But he is not there yet. He is not discouraged…yet. The truth is, I worry if he has too many more days like yesterday that he will give up before he ever learns. As his mom and a person who knows how to ride a bike, I know that his perseverance will pay off. I know one day he’ll love the feeling of riding his bike. I can imagine him riding up and down our street and begging to ride farther and farther distances. His bike will become his main mode of transportation as he grows older and begins to go to friend’s houses by himself.
He seems very far away from that point right now. Riding to the mailbox would be an amazing accomplishment, let alone a friend’s house. He’s got a long way to go.
As Tom said in his sermon on Sunday, the things that God call us to in life often require perseverance. They are hard and have lots of obstacles. If they were easy, God wouldn’t be calling us to do them because they would already be done. That statement resonated with me. Too often I have expected a calling from God to mean I was going to get the VIP pass to the front of the line. If I found myself at the end of a very long line I began to doubt if it was really God that I was hearing. But that’s not how things work with God. Our callings will have roadblocks and red tape and there will be moments when we will feel like a 6-year-old sitting on a bike with no training wheels and have no clue how to lift our feet off the ground.
It’s in those moments, instead of giving up, we can look to God and remember the wise words of a young boy who said: “So if I learn this today it will be a miracle?”
And if we listen closely we might just hear God respond, “Yup, pretty much.”