As Luke is learning to walk there are many lessons I am learning about my own “walk” with my heavenly Father. And one of those lessons literally hit home yesterday. But before I get to that, here are some snapshots of Luke’s journey in learning to walk, many illustrate my own journey in the Walk of faith.
(Note click on any image for a larger view)
In the beginning, Luke could not walk at all. Even to stand, he needed his father to hold him. I remember as a very young boy how much I loved being close to my dad, and close to God. The outdoors was always my favorite place with both of them, and how Luke points toward the outside almost every time I pick him up.
Then there was the day he stood all by himself for the first time! The delight on his face was amazing as he stood and clapped for himself. I told him, “Luke, you have taken your first step into a larger world… and I mean that quite literally!” My first taste of walking alone was when I headed off to Bible college. For the first time I was truly making my own decisions, without having to check in with Mom and Dad, and my spiritual life became my own, not just something I inherited from my Christian upbringing. I remember the thrill of being in Bible college, training for a life of ministry, and getting to start my own ministry at the same time.
Now Luke could stand, but if he took a step it was all over. On vacation he tried on some Micky Shoes at the Disney Store (vacations planned by my wife I suspect include the query: near a Disney store).
While the shoes provided some laughs from employees and shoppers, the reality was they were far too big and frustrated Luke who could only stand there looking grown up but not really go anywhere. Boy, do I know that feeling! Early in my ministry I felt my shoes were too big! As I got invited to speak at different places, even national conferences, my thought was “why me?” I’m grateful that people benefiting what I tried to offer, but I am always amaze that God would use me. I’m not as big a man as the shoes I’m often asked to fill or assumed to be wearing, but to God be the glory, great things HE has done!
So we took Luke to Stride Rite, on many recommendations, to get him his first official walking shoes, so that he could learn to walk correctly and with balance. I too went for the training I would need to walk with God for life – on many recommendations (mostly parents) I chose Moody Bible Institute and could write another whole post why that is an incredible school I recommend as well. But while I could go on and on about the excellent training I got at MBI, I’m not sure I learned balance. That is where I began to speed up in my walk with God, training by day, serving by evening and weekends, my life became non-stop ministry, and I had no intention of ever slowing down… WOW! Serving God is exciting, and thrilling, and fulfilling and the best adventure offered here on earth!
Now Luke is a man on the go! And one of his favorite places is my car. He knows it will take him on what we call “Adventures.” Anytime we go out, since he was a baby, invite him with the words, “You want to go on an Adventure?” He now lights up and heads for the door, and whenever we are outside he points to my car, asking to go on an Adventure. He knows that with Dad there are places to go and people to see and new things to experience. By himself life isn’t quite as exciting. Isn’t the same true with us? When I think of the greatest adventures of my life – the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, and the experiences I’ve soaked in, all of them are something I’ve been doing with my Father.
When Luke first started walking, he needed Mom or Dad to hold his hands, then his hand, then maybe he’d just hold on to a finger. Eventually, feeling his new freedom and independance… he started to push us away. “I don’t need you any more” he said with his body language. He a Walker now! Last Sunday we were informed that he could move up to the Walkers class. We are proud of him and happy for him, but a little sad too, since he doesn’t need us quite as much, and at times, doesn’t want us interfering with what he is doing. I can’t help thinking that God often must feel the same way. First we cling to Him, going everywhere with Him, then as we “mature” spiritually, we don’t need God as much. One hand or a finger of God is all we need. And at times, we even push Him away as we discover independence. I think God misses when we clung to Him.
Now Luke can walk all by himself. While I watch, close by, ready to move in at the first sign of faultering. I’d like to think that is how God watches me. I think I’m on my own, but He’s there, watching. Ready to move in if I falter or fall, or waiting for me to reach up for a hand when I encounter some uneven ground in life.
How Luke is a little super hero, walking and exploring and going wherever his little feet can take him. But then it happened yesterday. His legs got a little ahead of himself, and he fell flat on his face, hard, on the hard wood floor and gave him a nice little bump right on his head. Ice and hugs was all the medicine he needed, but there was another change we noticed right away. He was back to clinging to us to get around. Walking had hurt him, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to walk alone any more. As I was trying to work around the house, I was slowed down by a little boy behind me with both hands gripping my shorts so that I had to walk in baby steps with my son tailing behind. He walked, he fell, and he was scared to walk again.
He found out the hard way that he isn’t a super hero. That he can get going too fast, that he can fall down, and that when you do, it hurts. But he is clinging to his father, and daring to walk again, and while the bruise still hurts, it is healing.