I remember when I taught my son how to ride a bike. It was a difficult but rewarding experience.  To be able to pass on something I enjoyed as a child was an amazing adventure for me as a parent.  The joy of riding!  I vividly recall the freedom and independence of riding my bike in my younger years. It gave me the ability to travel to places on my own, once I overcame my fears and began to ride.

At first, teaching my son to ride a bike was a test for me. I had to be patient with my son because it was difficult for him to turn the pedals.  But once he learned how to work the pedals, riding became easy.  Now he didn’t have to worry about the bike tipping from side to side. He could trust the training wheels would keep him from falling.

A few years later I remember my son asking me to take the training wheels off his bike.  He told me that he is ready to try to ride without them. So, I took them off. And we began a process of me holding the back of his seat and pushing him forward to gain momentum. Next, I would let go and watch to see if he would begin to ride on his own. Suddenly, after doing this process dozens of times, of me holding on and letting go, holding on and letting go, holding on and letting go, it happened! My son was riding on his own!  I remember the pride and joy I felt watching him ride without training wheels.  Anticipating the day when we will soon ride together.

Why am I sharing this experience, you might be asking?  Well, that is the same question I asked God after praying to him about COVID-19.  He reminded me about this experience and told me, “The training wheels are off”. 

I believe God reminded me of this experience as an analogy for life. You may have heard or read about “life” being compared to a walk or a run.  In the Bible, the apostle Paul compares life to a race.  Jesus also used things people are familiar with to explain spiritual truths.  For example, in Matthew 4:18 Jesus says to Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew, “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” because they were fishermen.  He also compared Himself to a Vinedresser, taking care of his Vineyard.  We His children are the branches, Jesus is the “True Vine” and our purpose as His children is to bear fruit. (Reference John 15:5.)

Today I want you to let you know that life can also be compared to riding a bike and that there is a difference between riding with the training wheels on or off.  Once you learn how to ride with the training wheels on, eventually it becomes time to take them off.  Failure to remove them would stop you from knowing if you can ride without them. I believe this lesson can be applied to how we live our lives. Living with the training wheels on is like living a life in comfort, having the support of family, friends, a teacher or a pastor.  Someone who is physically there, teaching, guiding and helping you navigate through life. Training wheels can even be something you enjoy doing or using.  Like playing sports or a hobby.  Having a cup of coffee or tea.  Some may think they need to have these comforts to make it through the day.

When it comes to living life with the training wheels off, it’s similar to life without our familiar comforts.  Living a life in the absence of the things that we think we cannot live without is based on fear.  But the truth is that you can thrive without them, as you delight in Him. 

During this time of COVID-19, I believe God is telling us the training wheels are off.  He is not going to wait for us to tell him that we are ready, he has already taken them off.  He has taken them off whether you are ready or not. Now there is no more time to learn how to ride without training wheels.  It is time to ride.  God has removed all comforts so we can learn how to trust Him.

Today, as we practice social distancing; struggle to go to work, school or church because of the precautions we must take; people may be suffering from feelings of fear and anxiety.  It is like riding without training wheels for the first time and you are afraid you might fall. Yet, like anyone that is learning to ride you have access to a parent nearby ready to catch you if you fall. Jesus can be the hand at the back of your seat to keep you upright until you are strong enough to stand. He can be the One pushing you forward when you feel like you can’t move on. Also, He is the One watching and waiting to see if you begin to ride without training wheels.

So, in this season, if we establish a relationship with Christ it can be an opportunity for growth and an opportunity to work on our personal relationship with Him. It is a time for us to develop a prayer life, learn to worship, and reach God for ourselves.  Not out of routine or by just following someone else, it is a chance to worship in spirit and in truth.  If we repent and invite him into our lives, we can receive the gift of His Holy Spirit. With his Spirit, we can find rest and peace in a time like this. In His Spirit, we can experience freedom in a time where we feel helpless and enslaved.  

Then once we know how to ride, we can ride together. What a glorious day it will be when we reunite with family, friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.  Now that we have learned to ride without training wheels. 

May you continue to experience extraordinary in Him!

Stephen Simpson