It was my birthday and a very beautiful day in south Texas. I got off of work early and asked my 8-year old son if he wanted to go on a bike ride with me. Excitedly, he said yes and off we went together. Our city is full of wonderful paved bike trails that weave around and through neighborhoods, ponds, and parks. About half way through the ride we came to an area newly developed which provided an off-trail short-cut over to a wonderful park I love to ride through. I steered off onto the bumpy dirt trail and rode up the 100 feet or so to connect to the paved trail we would take to the park.
When I got to the other trail I realized my son was not behind me. He had barely gotten started into the cutoff. He did not want to go on the ?bumpy road? and was upset that I would take him on something so hard for him to do. I encouraged him to either try it or it was okay to get off and walk the bike. Instead, he began to perseverate on why I would take him on such a tough road. Despite multiple tries to get him to trust me (?I know you can do it?), rationalize with him (?we are almost there?), and let him watch me (?see how to do this??), he wasn?t having it. He was stuck. We ended up turning around and went home?having missed the best part of the bike ride. He walked his bike the entire way back out of stubbornness, even though the remaining path back home was perfectly smooth.
When we got home (and I got over my very foul mood), I got to thinking about what transpired. I felt like the Lord laid on my heart a couple of things. First of all, I need more patience with my children, especially when they are not being obedient. Second, that we are essentially all stubborn children. At times in our lives we are all just as stubborn as he was. When life deals us a bumpy road, we can get so fixated on the problem that we lose the big picture. Maybe we complain over our misfortune. We might want to give up or not put forth the required effort to overcome a trial. Or possibly, we had our own ideas of what path we would take. Regardless, the root of our issue is pride. We sell God short of his infinite sovereignty and goodness. We put ourselves in the driver?s seat and kick our creator out. Our pride prevents us from letting God teach and lead us. Our focus must be on how God can use our trials to mold us further into His likeness rather than fixating on the trial itself.
I was able to have a talk to my son later that day about what happened and explained to him what God had laid on my heart. I told him that our bike ride was a great example of life. Life is going to be full of smooth trails, but at some point there are going to be rough ones. When we are faced with a difficult part of our life, we cannot be stuck fixating on the bumpy road itself. Rather, we need to think about what our heavenly Father could teach us through it. We need to take everything to the cross and lay it there. Only then are we teachable and will eventually see the good that can come of any situation. My son sees that now in the bike route. When we go biking now he asks to take the dirt trail. He sees the good in it.
Then he said to them all: ?Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me.? Luke 9:23