I remember when I was five years old. My grandmother bought me a bike. I absolutely loved it. I rode it up and down the driveway, across the street and to the neighbor’s house. I can still hear the training wheels scuff the ground and make popping sounds as they crushed sand and went over rocks. There came a day though when my dad had to remove the training wheels. They started to become something that slowed me down rather than to speed up.
Dad held onto the back of my banana seat and ran with the bike as I pedaled. I felt just as safe with him there as I did with the training wheels. I realized that I was going faster than I ever had with training wheels on. You could see my smile clear across Texas as I pedaled. Then, I looked back to see if my dad was enjoying it as much as I did. When I saw him way behind me, not holding on anymore, I got scared, panicked and wrecked. We tried again and again until I realized I could do it.
I think God does that with us. When we are new in our faith, we have training wheels. We take it slowly, but we have movement and freedom like never before once we believe. But there comes a time when we have to exercise our faith. The training wheels have to come off and we have to trust God fully. It can be scary when you are being grown. We might even fall a couple of times. The disciple Peter did.
Jesus removed the training wheels from the disciples after thy had been with him for some time. He put them in a boat and told them to sail across the Sea. He would meet them on the other side. He let go of the boat and let them sail on their own. It should have been no big deal since many were fisherman. When a storm came, they began to panic because they were all alone.
Jesus came walking to them on the water and said, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.” Just like a parent after their kid’s initial wreck on the bike, Jesus came to them to calm them down and to help them. After the encouragement, Peter decides he’s ready to try again. He steps out of the boat and begins to exercise his faith. I’m sure you could see his smile all across Galilee as he realized he was doing it. About that time, he panicked and started to sink. Jesus helped him up and they continued to walk on water.
Our faith never really grows until we exercise it. God allows opportunities in life to trust Him and to build our faith. Just because it feels like He has let go and is allowing you to pedal, doesn’t mean He isn’t watching you or is right there to help you if you crash. We all crash. We all fall. It’s what we do after that that matters. Are you willing to get back on the bike? Are you willing to step out of the boat even in a storm to trust God and to exercise your faith?
He’s watching you, cheering you on and calling out to you, “Don’t be afraid. Take courage. I am here.” He hasn’t left you or forsaken you and He never will. Like a good parent, He helps you grow and do more than you ever thought you could. There are times when He is running behind you, holding onto the banana seat of your life helping you along. Then there are times when He lets go and cheers you on. Wherever you are in life, know that He is with you and growing you because He knows what is best for you.