Hey my Sweet Lifers! On a rather brisk day in February back in 1976 I received a bike for my birthday. I remember wondering as I wobbled on the seat and with hands shaking held on tight to the handlebars, if I would ever not be afraid of getting up on that contraption! A few months later my sweet grandfather, who I called “Big Daddy” came to visit me and he was resolved that I had practiced enough with those training wheels and it was time for me to learn to as he put it; “fly.” I can remember that day so vividly as he balanced me on the bike and gently guided me as I pedaled and kept looking back to make sure he was still holding onto the back of my seat. A few tries in when I looked back and realized he had let go and I was actually riding on my own he exclaimed, “Don’t look back darling! Keep looking forward!” It has been a memory of the two of us that I have cherished for so many years.
As I was preparing this column for you all I enlisted the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which I always do actually for those that did not know. He has been very keen to use me to get some of His messages out to you, rather discreetly over these many years. The image of me on my bike came to mind and how in many ways we as Christians are learning how to ride our individual bikes. Some of us get one when we are very young, use those training wheels at church or in our homes and eventually we are ready to take those off and “fly.” Armored with the knowledge that our Bible teaches us in the ways of humanity and also in how to discern the good from the bad. Learning from falling off our bikes the lessons of never giving up and not looking back.
Part of living the sweet life is learning that we are all going to have seasons of tribulations and seasons of triumphs. It is said in Romans 5: 2-5, “ Faith accesses the grace that God wants to dispense in our lives, not just in salvation and sanctification, but also in tribulation. If we are in Christ, we also rejoice in our afflictions because God is working in those afflictions for our good. Through affliction, God intends to create in us endurance, which produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. Hope, like faith, is only as good as its object. Just as our faith can only lead to salvation if it is faith in God, our hope will not disappoint us because it is the hope of God’s love…poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit. Even in our suffering, God’s Spirit provides a fresh experience of God’s love to us and for us.” Getting back up and looking ahead no matter what we are experiencing in our lives is having faith that God has our backs and He and He alone is providing this opportunity to draw closer to Him.
In this year we all will find ourselves in different places. Some will discover their bikes for the very first time and they will need to use those training wheels to stay the course. There will be days of wobbling arms on that steering wheel and a slip or two off those pedals. Others have been riding without the trainers for many years but they think they are in charge of the path it leads them to, they are the drivers of their own “destiny.” Others still have fallen off so many times they aren’t sure how to get back on the seat and trust they will find what they are looking for…or are quite frankly being lead to. A few though are finally “flying” as it were with a faith that God is taking them on their specific journey that only they can take. He has not let go of the back of their seats but rather has stayed right beside them just in case they fall. He has always been there to catch us, comfort us and love us. It is my hope for each of you, my sweet lifers that you’ll hop on that bike no matter where you are in your journey and that you’ll have faith and trust to “fly” and remember… like my Big Daddy said: “Don’t look back darlings! Keep looking forward!”
Take Care of You and Stay “Sweet!”