Boy did I ever want a bike! I was thirteen when I outgrew my purple two-wheeler. I remember spending most of my summers riding away without a care or worry and with such pride. I loved poppin those wheelies and free roaming through the neighbourhood with the wind whisking through my long curly black locks. Oh to go back to those carefree summer days! Eventually I grew, but sadly, my bike didn’t grow with me. You can imagine my disappointment when my legs and arms were too long and lanky to fit the confines of a childhood bicycle.
As a child I was told that God heard our prayers and that He would grant our requests. So I decided to test Him on it. “God,” I said as a 13 year old girl, “if you really answer prayers, you can answer this one.” I prayed. I prayed every single day for almost two years. I prayed with every fibre of my being that I would get a new bike. My prayers weren’t exuberant or fancy, they were simple, “Father, I really want a bike, would you please give me a bike!” I wanted this to be a prayer that God would answer.
I wish I could tell you that God heard my prayer and responded immediately. But He didn’t. I mean what kind of God would withhold a bicycle from a kid who prayed so sincerely and faithfully for one? The wait was hard, the wait was full of disappointment. There were times when I thought I would get a bike and sadly I didn’t. It was hard to get my hopes up and then be let down. It was hard to see everyone around me riding around on their cool bicycles and realize that I wasn’t. But as is the story, life went on and my need for a bicycle began to slowly melt away like a scoop of ice-cream on a humid day. As such, my prayers for a bicycle stopped and I was distracted by other things, yet the desire lingered quietly in the background. Even as I grew older I would go to the bike section of any store and glance at the prices. $400 for a women’s bike, I would think to myself, what a ridiculous and unnecessary expense! That money could go toward much more urgent and pressing matters. As a child and even as an adult I would remember my former prayers for a bicycle: perhaps God forgot, maybe He genuinely didn’t hear my prayer? Maybe I was praying incorrectly or maybe I was praying for the wrong thing? What if God did give me the chance to have a bicycle and I missed out on those opportunities? Was it just a big unnecessary desire that really didn’t need to be fulfilled? Did I do something wrong, is that why I didn’t get my bike? What if I wasn’t praying hard enough or long enough, or maybe I just gave up on my prayer too quickly? I thought I was being earnest and genuine, consistent and persistent, but maybe I really wasn’t? I guess it didn’t really matter, or so I thought…
Then it happened, last week actually, I was casually making my rounds through Costco and there they were, hidden in the aisles- four women’s bicycles. I glanced at the price and was shocked. What’s wrong with these bikes, why are they so discounted? I saw a man inspecting the bicycles and I began to ask him questions. He told me that he was an employee at Costco and he was buying the bike for his wife. He couldn’t believe how great the price was for such a quality bicycle! I then spoke to another Costco employee who also confirmed the quality and the price. He was going to purchase the bike for his girlfriend. Two bikes down and only two left. And yes, you guessed it, one of them was going to be mine! I’ve never felt like more of a child. I walked through Costco with my head held high and a massive grin on my face, strolling the bike alongside me. People even began commenting, “Wow, lucky girl, what a good find. Where did you get that from?!”
Yes, I realize that most people my age are showing off their fancy Maseratis and Honda Civics (those are pretty fancy to me) and there I was, looking as childish as ever, simply elated by the purchase of a new bicycle. I came home with my heart filled to the brim with joy and thankfulness, not necessarily at the fact that I just got a new bike, but because of the simple truth that God heard me and He didn’t forget. He remembered. What to many and often to me may have been a meaningless and minuscule desire was something that God would use as a profound reminder of His great love and faithfulness. He heard my seemingly insignificant prayer and He placed value on my longing. He withheld something from me only to grant it to me at a time where I would appreciate it and value it in a way that I never would have as a child. The bicycle is more than just a bicycle- it’s a symbol. It’s a symbol of a God who hears, who listens, who remembers and who answers. It’s a symbol of a God who really really really does love me! If God is so gracious and faithful in fulfilling such a menial desire as this, how much more is God going to be gracious and faithful in fulfilling my greater needs?
There are some pretty big things I’ve been praying about lately and I’ve been seeing God respond to those needs one by one. As He answers, my heart continues to fill with thankfulness because I can really trust Him. He truly is a God who holds every minute detail of our lives as precious and incredibly valuable to Him. So much so, that He willingly gave up His Son so we would know just how much we mean to Him. And out of His kindness and compassion He gives us symbols, sometimes like a bicycle, sometimes a cross or sometimes even a rainbow to remind us of that simple and yet incredibly heart penetrating truth.
So stop for a minute, let it sink in.
Let’s remind ourselves time and time again:
My God loves me and He loves you too!