“Get Back on the Bike”
Exercise is like spiritual growth—there are times when everything goes well and we’re cruising along easily, watching weight drop off and muscles become toned; other times, we plateau, see no progress, and feel like quitting. C.S. Lewis is an author who helps me be OK with being in a continual training process. If you get a chance, take a look at The Screwtape Letters, Ch. 8:
“Our [the devil characters’] cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our enemy’s [God’s] will, looks around upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
This chapter describes the experience of a walk with God, though not the one we may want. The characters of the Bible are proof of the ups and downs. Just take a look at the early fathers of the faith or the Psalms–David is an emotional roller coaster, swinging between moments of extreme ecstasy with God and cries of, “God, where are you?!”
As a parent teaches a child to ride a bike, guiding at first, working through some falls, then gradually releasing the rider, God is still with us even as we pedal ourselves forward. We are to continue to fight, to move forward, even when things are rocky:
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1 Cor 9:24-27).