Proverbs states, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding” (3:5). My son learned that the hard way when I tried to teach him how to ride a bike without training wheels last week.
It was a great day at the time. My family and I were going along our merry way when I came up with the idea that it might be time for my son, 5 years old, to learn how to ride that big two-wheeler of his. When I recommended it, he jumped at the chance.
At first, my wife suggested we simply raise the training wheels higher to keep him from falling over. We tried that, and my son simply bounced from one side to the other down the road. It didn’t require any balance.
I suggested taking the training wheels off altogether like the big boys do. I grabbed my tools, took off the training wheels, and stood the bike up.
“Alright, son,” I said confidently, “It’s time to learn how to ride.” He looked at the bike, now modified, and had to make a decision. It took a little convincing that he would be safe, that I would not let the bike go, and that we would teach him every step of the way. We assured him that we would not let him fall.
My son didn’t learn how to ride his bike that day. It was a start. What he did learn, however, was that he can trust my wife and me with the harder things in life, that he can trust us not to put him on a bike just to watch him fall.
That night, I reflected on just how much my son’s trust in us is like our trust in God. God gives us a bicycle now and then–something He calls us to do, be it a task, a mission, or simply someone to befriend–and tells us to get on. Like my son, we often have a decision to make. Are we going to trust God with the plans God gives us?
Some of us jump on the bike with gleeful abandon; faith comes easier to some more than others. Then there are people who take their time to decide whether they can trust God.
We know God has a future for us, but we are just not sure if we want to follow through on it. We’d rather play where its familiar and safe.
Then there are folks who simply don’t trust God and live with training-wheels religion. We get by and say the right things, but we don’t trust that God has the best intentions for us. We don’t trust God with the details, and we take matters into our own hands more often than not.
Trust is a hard thing to do in our day and age. We are cynical about others and whether they deserve our trust. We can’t help but remember all of the times people have let us down. Sometimes, we find it hard to trust God because we feel that God let us down a time or two also.
Yet, there is another scripture in Proverbs that applies to those who find it hard to trust: “In all your ways acknowledge God and God will make your paths straight” (3:6).
Only when we get on the bicycle without the training wheels and put our trust in God can we experience the straight path that God has in store for us. After all, God has “plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope” (Jeremiah 29:11).