When I was small I didn’t learn how to ride my bike at my house.
I learned at the local regional park. We lived on a hill and riding bikes as a novice would ultimately lead to ruin. At the Big Park, the now trivial-to-me roads and bike trails that stretched through the grassy expanses were the biggest things on the horizon.
We stopped near a lake, my father and mother and my sister, and laid our bikes in the grass. Stepping stones spread across a small cove on one side of the water in front of me. They were the easy, perfect way to the other side.
The distance between the stones was small enough for me as a kid to walk between them easily. No leaping and no jumping were needed.
Yet somehow I still slipped and fell in right to my shoulders. It was dirty, murky water and I still remember the smell.
When my girls run too close to the edge of a body of water I tell this cautionary tale. You might fall. You could slip. And then the consequences-parent-better-than-I-do part of me takes over and I let them scramble and slip near the cloudy water if they want.
It’s part of being young and part of learning how to leap.
So I ask myself: is faith believing that God won’t let us fall or is it believing that when we do He’ll catch us?
He never promised us that we wouldn’t fall. And I wonder that maybe too many of us are scared of the falling so that we never even leap.
If you would have asked me this time last year if I ever thought we’d be homeowners again, I would have told you there wasn’t a way.
It was as if I could see the way, I could see the end, perhaps, but not how to get from here to there.
As if there were those same stepping stones across water, but the water between each one was way too far. Neither child nor adult legs could make the gap. As if I would have to fly between them and sprout wings on a land-bound body to make it from here to there.
But after an argument at a birthday party near a bounce house at a park, he and I fought it out in both angry and helpful words and we came to the agreement that if we could try to buy the house we should exhaust every possibility. We should try to fly and trust God to float us across the growing chasm.
But then there were all the things that fell into crazy-perfect place: the ones that I could never have puzzle-pieced together myself. The small God-things, the big God-things and everything in between. And there is small growing amazement of all the things He has put into place well beyond my understanding.
That day I fell in the lake water I remember a strong arm reaching in and lifting me out. It was after I’d already submerged, but still that hand was right there, almost as if my father was waiting to fish me out of my misstep.
I fell. Oh, how I fell. And I was scared.
We could have “leapt” for this house and not made it. We could have fallen out of escrow or not have had the money lent to us like we needed. We could have failed in so many ways. We are no strangers to failure. But somehow, the details fell into place as if they were perfectly orchestrated.
Let us never be afraid of leaping because of the falling. Falling is a part of life. Even falling into the cloudy water is a part of life sometimes. But He is there, always, ready to fish us out of the depths.