Welcome to This Passing Day. I’m Mark Brunner. My friend, may I ask you a question today? Are you self reliant when it comes to facing life’s many challenges? If so, have you left room for a total reliance on God to guide you through challenges before you tackle them on your own, or is God your backup?
My friend, life’s a story, welcome to This Passing Day.
Having raised four children I’ve had the opportunity to help each to learn to ride a bike. A traumatic experience for most kids, learning to pedal a bicycle without training wheels in place will often cause a great degree of anxiety. While each of my children wanted to be able to ride without the aid of the safeguarding training wheels, it took a while to build up enough trust to safely and confidently pedal away down the road without them. When our oldest daughter Sarah came to that momentous time she was particularly hesitant. I remember her starting out and than quickly placing her feet down on the ground to brace against a fall. Just keeping the handlebars steady was task enough, let alone making sure that the precarious balance was maintained. She rapidly became frustrated and was ready to quit. Focusing on steering and pedaling seemed to be just too much for her. Both Holly and I encouraged her to keep trying, but she seemed adamant that it just wasn’t going to happen. I stepped in at that moment and put my arms over her shoulders to grasp the handle bars with her so that she could focus on pedaling. In a matter of minutes she was pedaling and steering on her own.
Sarah didn’t ask for my help as she stubbornly stuck to trying to negotiate the balance and the steering on her own. Finally, when she felt that she could no longer deal with the challenge, she felt it was time to quit. Had she asked for help in the first place, as soon as coordinating steering and pedaling became problematic, she probably would have mastered it sooner without the frustration.
Here’s a story. Sign seen in a textile mill, “When your thread becomes tangled don’t try to untangle it on your own, call the foreman and he will help you.” A young woman was new on the job. Brimming with confidence she charged ahead at her loom in an effort to demonstrate how quickly she could master the new machine. Ultimately, however, her thread did became tangled and she had to power down the loom. She thought, “I’ll just straighten this out myself.” She tried, but the situation only worsened. Finally she called the foreman. “I did the best I could,” she said. He frowned and shook his head. Pointing to the sign on the wall warning about tangled threads, he interjected. “No you didn’t do your best. To do your best, you should have called me first, just like the sign tells you to do.” (Source Unknown.)
In Joshua 24:19 Joshua scolds the Amorites for thinking that they could serve the Lord while they stubbornly persisted to rely on themselves with the holy God as a backup. According to Joshua, that would never please God. Like Sarah on that bike, God is always there just waiting for the moment when, facing life’s challenges, great and small, we determine that we need his guidance even before we start out on our journey to overcome. Life tends to jamb us up on a daily basis sometimes. We try to keep things on an even keel, untangling the messes we make, but we’re rarely capable of that in and of ourselves. God is good at reaching over our shoulders to keep us from falling down, but he would prefer to begin at the beginning than start at the end. He’s used to backing up but would prefer a starting role.
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We pray. Thank you Lord for being there for us at the beginning of trouble as well as at the end of it. Father, it is our stubborn nature often to try to work things out on our own without relying first on the starting role that you long to play in our lives. Forgive us Father when we charge ahead only to find that our persistence often brings us to a frustrating, false start in life. In Jesus name we pray. Amen!
Therefore my friend, Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself; each day has enough trouble of its own. This Passing Day. (Matt 6:34)
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