Do you remember the first few white-knuckled and adrenaline-charged minutes when you learned to ride a bike for the first time? Can you recall the liberating blast of air in your face that tussled your hair and dried the winding rivers of sweat that had formed down your back? After having raced around the neighborhood for so long with the condemning clackety-clack of the training wheels, it seemed like the apogee of freedom to glide effortlessly on two wheels. However, you can probably also recollect the fears and responsibilities that came with the new freedom–learning to stop without crashing, negotiating busy intersections, and riding off-road. I feel like the training wheels have come off, the adrenaline rush has come and gone, and now the rubber is really meeting the road.
I distinctly remember this feeling the first time that I led the little weekly bible study here in Sesto Calende. This Saturday-night study is the precious beginnings of a church that our colleagues, the Lukers, have so faithfully shepherded. After our initial time of fellowship, there was an awkward pause where I realized that everyone was waiting on me to open our prayer time and then launch into the study. I’ve preached and led bible studies before in Italian, so this isn’t a new experience per se. However, the weight of the fact that I was no longer at seminary, that there were no longer training wheels, and that these Italian believers were looking to me to lead, hit me like a load of bricks.
In some ways, I’m thankful for moments like these that remind me that I have absolutely nothing to offer anyone here save what the Living God gives me. On the flip side, my flesh has never been fond of raw reminders that I’m nil–a nobody–without my new identity grounded in Him. What an exquisite place to be, though–reminded continually of our inadequacies and utter necessity of His presence every moment of the day. There is sweet freedom for me in knowing that if I don’t trust Him for help it won’t happen. My prayer is that even as I become more comfortable with my ministry roles here, that I’ll never forget that He is the only one that keeps me from falling off the bike…
Ride on! Love y’all!
I feel you bro…it’s tough when all eyes are on you and looking for direction and leading. It’s an overwhelming feeling, especially in a foreign culture. But I know you and I know you’re ready for this. I’m excited that this has been entrusted to you! You and Jana are going to do/see some amazing things!