Our fourth child, Ronin, decided to start walking this week. I say “decided” because, he’s cruised on furniture teetering with the idea of walking for several months. We’ve cheered him on and used every trick we know to encourage walking. Yet, even as the 18m mark came and passed, he still wasn’t taking independent steps.
At random, on the front porch earlier this week, Ronin took his first steps. He literally walked completely on his own about 8-9 steps before he tumbled over. We clapped and cheered for his success and grabbed our iPhones to catch the attempts to follow. Over and over again, he’d pull up on something, steady himself, and take off with careful balanced steps. When he inevitably fell, he looked up at us grinning, relishing in our proud and encouraging smiles.
As I thought about my sons progression with walking and first steps, I reflected on some how papa God views us as we progress in our Christian walk. Far too often believers become consumed with the disappointment of their failures, versus the miracle of their progress.
Though Ronin fell many times, never once did I yell, scold, or show disappointment in his progress. To do so would be ludicrous! Not even a horribly harsh bad parent would express disappointment in a baby learning to walk for the first time. I’ve never heard, “You fell, whats WRONG WITH YOU!” Instead a parents response is encouragement and joy in the progress. Parents beam with pride because they know the reality is that each attempt the infant makes furthers their balancing skills, produces more successful steps and grows confidence.
In our faith walk we must all learn to step independently and walk on our own. Often, the learning to walk process includes bumps, bruises and falls. It’s easy to get frustrated with our falls and mistakenly believe that God is frustrated with us as well. That’s a lie though. God is not just a “good parent,” he’s the perfect father.
As you’re learning to walk out the Christian life, you will fall down sometimes. You will make mistakes and have regrets. Your best intentions will result in failure. You will find yourself with shortcomings and inadequacies. But, your heavenly Father isn’t looking at you angry or disapprovingly, instead, He is loving cheering you on, encouraging you to get up, and… walk again. Our Father knows that each time we attempt to walk out our faith we will get stronger and we will become more efficient with our steps.
So friend, if you have fallen, that’s okay. Don’t quit attempting those steps. Reach for Papa’s hand and get up. Keep moving! Your Father is proud of you and He loves you immeasurably. Let Him teach you to walk.