Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Bicycle Metaphor

I was not brought up with any religious education, sadly, and so I would call myself young in my walk with Christ. I'm still learning. Should I say things that sound odd to you when I speak of my faith, please blame my inexperience, and chalk it up to growing pains. Also, let me know.

Jesus taught in parables, and I find them appropriate vehicles for conveying concepts. I tend to think in the same way. Recently, as I lay awake thinking about my own experience in coming to Christ, this one came to me.

Imagine yourself as a small child, learning to ride a bicycle. Your father warns you of the dangers involved in falling off of a bike, but he's there for you, his hand firm on your shoulder, his presence reassuring beside you as you float along the pavement, exhilarated by the new sensations of speed and gliding.

Suddenly you are struck by a thought; you don't need him, do you? You're able to guide this bike on your own! Sure, you just saw him put it together this morning, and you know you could not have done it with your small, weak hands, but that's beside the point. You can do it!

The feeling grows and grows in you until at last you take one hand from it's white knuckle grip on the handle bars, grip the hand of your father on your shoulder, and throw it off. In doing so, you over balance, lose control, and go wobbling and crashing into the pavement.

The pain is intense; you've never seen your own blood before. You lift your torn flesh up to your father and yell into his face, not seeing the concern, sadness, hurt, and indeed the righteous anger at our rebellion against his instruction, saying "Why did you let me hurt? Why did you give me this pain?"

The child, for me, represents humanity, having fallen, as it was inevitable for us to have done. The shame of it isn't that our father let us fall; he couldn't have stopped it anymore than we could have stopped ourselves. The shame is in our gall, our temerity, in holding our pains to our Father and holding Him to task for them.

It's a hard analogy to grasp if you aren't a parent, I suppose. If you've never actually had a child whom you've warned over and over, "don't touch that", "don't jump from there", and so on, and then seen the child come to grief over it, then I don't think you can make sense of it. I think perhaps that's why the Lord gave us children; to help us in some small way understand our place in His love.. and his wrath.

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