“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
The past two weeks my husband, daughter, and I have been working with my grandson to teach him how to ride a bike. He was determined to learn. So, his Papa G began by looking for and finding a bike that was his size without training wheels and once we brought it home, the training began. At first, we were a little concerned as he didn’t seem to be able to coordinate all the different abilities needed in order to successfully ride a bike. But little by little and a whole lot of bruises and scrapes to his shins, he began to put all those abilities together. Finally, one afternoon, he did it. He rode his bike. It was only for a short, one driveway to the next ride before he lost his balance, but he did it. You have never seen what ecstatic looks like until you see the face of a little boy who has just ridden his bike for the first time by himself. Once he rode that first time, all the pieces began falling into place. Now, only a few days after catching on to what bike riding needs from him, he is quickly becoming quite the cyclist. In fact, every evening when my husband and I take our walk together, he comes with us on his bike. He still falls, he still has a lot to learn about riding a bike, but he has the basics down.
Teaching him to ride was a lesson in faith. As I stated earlier, he has many bruises and scrapes on his poor shins. They are more bruised than not. But every time he fell, every time he got another bruise or scrape, he got right back up and right back on his bike and tried again. He did not get discouraged. He did not give up. He was determined to learn how to ride his bike, proclaiming before we began that he would be successful in learning. He did not get discouraged but had faith that his determination and hard work would eventually pay off and he would have the skills needed to ride his bike. And that faith was with him in the beginning when he fell more than he did anything else. “I’ll get it yaya.” “Let me try one more time, Papa G.” “I can do it mom.” That was what we heard with every tumble, every crash, every fall. Occasionally those words would be proceeded by “I’m ok.” Faith in his hopes of learning to ride a bike. Faith in not being able to see or know when that day would come, and he would ride his bike. Faith in knowing that he would succeed. And succeed he certainly did.
Unfortunately, for many of us, faith fails us when it comes to the most important thing in our lives. It fails when it comes to God because we must have proof. Concrete, solid, seeing is believing proof, before we will believe. We want to see, touch, feel what we cannot see, touch or feel before we will acknowledge our faith in God. Before we will allow ourselves to believe. But that is not faith. “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” I find it more than a little ironic that we struggle to believe in God because we can’t see God and yet at the same time believe in many things here on earth that we can’t see like radio waves, gravity, wind, and others. We see the effects they have, but we cannot see them.
So, maybe, if you want proof, if you want to “see” God look for the effects God has on the lives of those who truly follow God. You will see people who honestly seek to live better lives…not perfect as we are all works in progress…but these individuals honestly strive to live out the principles that Jesus has taught in the Gospels. You will find some of the most profound teachings in Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. A Sermon that asks us to look beyond what the law says and look to our heart attitudes to get at the roots of the issues we have in life.
Finding people who truly strive to live out the gospel message of Jesus isn’t always easy either. There are many individuals who say they do but their actions speak differently. That is why I recommend if you want to see God, look at the effects God has on people’s lives and not the words people say. Typically, you will see someone who offers more grace to those who hurt them. Someone who tries to help where needed. Someone who gives what they can to those who have less. You will also see someone who makes mistakes, who gets tired and says things they shouldn’t but in all their messiness, will also acknowledge their mistakes, will offer their apologies and seek forgiveness and reconciliation where needed. They will exhibit the fruits of the spirit that Paul talks about in his letter to the Galatian church. Which are found in Galatians 5:22 and are: “Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Seeing those attributes at work in the life of someone who follows God, is evidence of God working in their life and in this world. Faith asks us to believe without proof and yet if we have eyes to see and ears to hear, proof is all around us.
And so, I have enjoyed the faith of my grandson. He had a deep and abiding faith that he would one day learn how to ride a bike. His journey has not been at all smooth. But through it all he had faith he would succeed. And succeed he did. He is courageous. He is brave in the face of injury. He is happy. But mostly he is filled with faith. I believe I even heard him exclaim on one of our nightly walks as he rode around the block: “I’m awesome!” Yes, my sweet grandson, you truly are.
May we all find the faith of a child.