Saturday, September 12, 2015

"...But David encouraged himself..."

I will never forget the Christmas when I received my first bicycle, it was blue and silver with a basket on the front and colorful streamers on the handlebars! It also had training wheels attached for safe learning, but they didn't stay on there long.  My Dad taught me to ride my bike and I remember how patient he was when weaning me off the training wheels. It seemed like it was so hard to keep that bike in balance and to stop it from wobbling after my Dad released me; but after a time (and after many skinned knees and elbows from falling) I was able to keep my balance and ride a short distance unaccompanied, with him cheering me on!

There was an incline on the street that I lived on, we actually called it a "hill".  To me as a small child the "hill" looked like Mount Everest. My cousins and I have sacrificed a whole lot of skin from our knees at the altar of that "hill" while trying to run down it at a high speed.  I still can't figure out why in the world we felt it necessary to run and chase each other down "Mount Everest" KNOWING that we would probably trip and tumble down head first because of loose shoe laces, small rocks or just the inertia and gravity of the stunt! But that didn't stop us. So it was only natural that the "hill" would be my greatest challenge after learning to ride my beautiful blue and silver bike...

It was scary at first looking up that incline and imagining myself not only pushing my bike up it, but actually reaching the top and enjoying the easy ride back down. But I wanted it so badly until I was willing to try over and over again; each time I fell and at times really hurt myself (I still have a scar to prove it) I would say through my tears, "I can do this".  I don't know why I was so determined to push my bike up that incline and ride down, but to me it was something that I felt I needed to accomplish. In my young mind it was like a rites of passage to prove to myself that I was strong and independent.

After much trial and error, one day I was able to push that bike up and ride down smoothly and over time I would show off by riding down with my hands in the air or feet up on the handle bars (oh to be able to do that ain't happening though)  LOL

That was a very long time ago, though I remember like it was yesterday: my Dad encouraging me, holding the bike while I learned to peddle and balance myself, him cheering me on as I finally got the knack to stay on without falling and him smiling when he saw me riding down the "hill" with arms up raised.  It amazes me now when I visit home and see that through time and the wear and weight of many cars traveling over the "hill", that it is not a "hill" at all anymore. My sisters and I wonder if it really was that high at all back then or was it our view as children that it seemed so challenging and insurmountable.  At any rate it was a life lesson for me...

When I feel discouraged and challenged, I rehearse God's faithfulness. It does not come easy at first because it is much easier to flow with how you are feeling at the time, but I have to shake myself and remember...Remember how He brought me through so many times before. Times when I wanted to give up, He helped me to go on. Times when I felt useless and unwanted, He was there to remind me that I am important to Him. Times when the situation seemed like a Mount Everest and insurmountable...He encouraged me that "You can do this".

In the book of I Samuel chapter 30, David had returned to find that the enemy had ransacked the city and stolen all their goods and worst of all had kidnapped his family. The people understandably began to weep and grieve, and the scripture says that  "... but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God". To me I believe that he began to remind himself of how God had helped him to overcome all his previous challenges (and he had many). And in doing so it buoyed his confidence that if God did it before, He will do it again. So David began to seek the Lord through prayer and God in His faithfulness gave him clear direction on how to overcome his situation.

I was at a committee meeting recently and one of the members had lost her spouse a few weeks before. As she described what she was going through, I remembered having gone through that part of the journey and my heart went out to her. The Holy Spirit brought to my mind and heart how far I had come, things that were once giant hurdles, Mount Everest if you will, now don't seem as unbearable. God did it! He helped me through it and now I can encourage myself and others of His faithfulness.

Today if you are experiencing challenges, no matter how big or small, if it is concerning you, then it is important to God.  Give those challenges to Him, then remember the times that He was faithful to you before, remind yourself of His goodness; then take your hands off the handlebars and ride with hands up raised thanking Him!

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