I am so grateful for your patient mercy and lavish grace. I am like a child, repeatedly falling off my bike. You patiently help me up, dust me off, and let me try again. When I fail again and again, you don’t get angry with me or punish me for failing.
Would you like me to ride flawlessly? Of course. Do you hurt for me when I fall? Always. Will I eventually ride flawlessly? Yes. Will it be soon? Only you know.
All I can do is obey, follow, and make as much progress as I can. You bless my efforts and my obedience, which are the only things I bring to the transaction. You already know I will learn to ride flawlessly. You already know about the skinned knees and elbows. And more serious injuries too.
Even as you teach me to ride a bike, you are teaching me much more. How to tie my shoes, how to throw a ball and to catch it, how to write my name, how to read your words and those of others.
You also teach me about other people. This may be the most extensive, ongoing teaching I receive. It never seems to end. When I was little, there were helpful adults, mean adults, and the vast majority who were neither to me. There were good kids, bullies, and the vast majority who were neither to me. As I have grown, this has never changed, but the mix of people you have exposed me to has. In all these interactions, whether short- or long-term, you are teaching me to love.
Love has so many aspects to it, I could never describe them all. It is as universal as you but as individual and varied as each combination of people you bring together. The common thread is that we are all created by you specifically to love and to love you back. That is what you want and the one thing you will never force. It must break your heart when someone you love turns their back on you. This is no great insight on my part, but all of us get some sample of this kind of pain in our lives, just enough to know it’s agonizing.
But we must also love each other. Whatever that means in the combination we’re in. To love is to support, serve, protect, advance, encourage, and even to humble at times. I know this because you do all these things for me and encourage me to do them for others. I am better at this than I once was, but nowhere near where I should be.
And that brings us back to patience. Lord, your patience is literally eternal. You are never in a hurry yet always right on time. Nothing happens until it should, nothing surprises you, although some things – a zillion of them under the broad category of sin – disappoint and even grieve you.
You never give up. You never turn your back on us. When we stray, you welcome us when we return. When we disobey, you correct us, as a Father to a child. Because that is what you are to us.
Lord, thank you for loving me despite my brokenness. How blessed I am.
In your precious name I pray, AMEN!