I recently took my kids rollerskating for the first time. As you can imagine it was filled with tumbles and falls, rolled over fingers and plenty of frustration. But each time my kids fell, they got back up and tried again.
I could not help but see the parallels of life in those little bodies trying to skate. Life is full of tumbles, falls and valley-experiences. We experience disappointment and frustration. We’d like to skip the learning and simply take off on our skates, feeling the breeze in our face, the beat of the music in our chest and the satisfaction of accomplishment.
But in learning to skate, the falls become a part of learning. Muscles are trained and the brain discovers which movements will maintain balance so as not to end up flat on the floor. The process becomes our education. And so it is in life. We learn. We grow. Our challenges mold, shape and prepare us to do that which God wants us to do.
My kids did not just walk on the roller rink that night and take off skating. Truthfully, we never left the inner circle where you learn to skate . . . except to risk our lives crossing back to the carpeted area. (Seriously, it was like Frogger trying to drag to two limp and wobbly kids on skates when a bazillion people are skating towards you.) Except for bathroom breaks and and a brief snack, the kids’ entire time on the rink was: Fall, Get up, Repeat.
As a parent, I so badly wanted to hold their hands the whole time. I wanted to keep them from landing on their knees, their hands and tailbones. I wanted to protect them from the frustration and hurt. I wanted to save them from the struggle of learning.
But I knew I couldn’t. It was for their own good that I didn’t swoop in and rescue them each time they were about to fall. They needed to learn to do this on their own. How would they become a skater if I didn’t allow them to experience the process of learning, falls and all?
And that was when it hit me. The spiritual light came on. Ding. Ding.
You see, this was my life at that very moment. We have been on a roller coaster of sorts. We have dwelled in the valley. Our fingers have been rolled over and we’ve had to get up from falling several times. And while I know God is present, there has been so much waiting that at times, I have felt him to be distant. Periods of waiting have a funny way of doing that to us, don’t they?
But if God ever feels distant, it isn’t because He is missing or is no longer right there with you. My kids tumbled. They fell. And I was right there the whole time. Encouraging them. Loving them.
Just maybe you are finding yourself on the roller rink learning something important. And as my kids needed to work through the process of learning to skate, we as God’s children are on a journey to become more like Jesus. Our faith muscles are being stretched. Our minds are being trained. We will experience both mountain top blessings and valleys of difficulty. But all the while, He is right there. He is the good parent who stays close and stands ready to answer our cries.
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you.” Isaiah 41:10a
Are you facing a challenge? Do you need to be reminded that you are God’s beloved child?