When a kid learns to ride a bike, he starts with training wheels. Once he gets a feel for the bike with training wheels, we remove them. The kid may fall at first, but then he will adapt. The idea: to help the child become skilled enough that the training wheels become unnecessary.
We train for independence.
In many areas of life, we train for independence–and rightfully so. We train student drivers, send kids off to college, and do on-the-job-training to teach autonomy. Independence is the goal.
The path of Christian maturity, however, is based on growing in dependence. We do not train in righteousness so we can depend upon our own. We do not grow in faith so we longer need to believe in that which we haven’t seen. It’s kind of a weird deal, but we are like spiritual Benjamin Buttons growing younger and needier of Christ and his rescue. Growing up in faith is like getting younger.
This process of maturation is wrought with pain and beauty. Life is hard, and we will all encounter hard times. When we fall upon hard times, those of us who follow Jesus cry out to him. Help, Lord. I need you. I don’t know what to do. Help.
Right now many in Houston have lost their homes and some have lost their lives as Hurricane Harvey ripped through the city. The prayers of many are falling upon God’s ears. He is listening.
When we cry out to God in hard times, he answers. He does not mask the pain like ibuprofen; he uses the pain like oil paints in the hand of an artist. We learn dependence upon him when we can count on nothing else and our life feels like a freefall. When he comes through for us, we learn to depend upon him more and ourselves less. It’s like that hokey trust fall event often programmed in team-building events where you fall backward and get caught by your colleagues. You learn to trust them by falling into their arms.
May you fall into the arms of the Lord often and learn that he is always there to catch you. And the more times he catches you, may you grow in faith and trust in him. And may you grow in neediness.