The Bike

Matthew 7:11 – If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! (NIV)

When I was a child, I longed for a bicycle. I grew up in an English town long since swallowed up by London. Because of the traffic, my two younger brothers and I were restricted to the backyard. I wanted a bike so that I could visit my friends. They all lived on council house estates — rows of post-war houses built on child-friendly streets, sharing the space in front and surrounded by grassy areas for games and sports. Everyone rode a bike and experienced much greater freedom than I.

In my last year of elementary school, my dad promised me a bike if I passed the national 11+ examinations. The results determined our future. Failure resulted in secondary school, then a trade, or for girls, a job in a shop until they married. A pass meant that we would attend a grammar school and eventually choose a career.

I often wonder if Dad expected me to pass, but pass I did. However, a bicycle was not forthcoming. My eleventh birthday was in August; surely, I would receive it then. But my hopes were dashed. I never understood why. We were not well off, but a bike would save money on transportation.

Two years later, my oldest brother passed the 11+, and received a bike. Obviously, there were different rules for girls and boys. My heart burned with envy as I watched him ride carefree with his friends. Perhaps, I was being protected, but I was convinced that my parents were keeping me prisoner.

Another two years passed, and my youngest brother also received a bike — not for passing, but for his effort. The injustice hurt! I had almost finished high school. I determined that when I started working, I would save for a car. When I was 18, I shocked my family by purchasing a used car with cash. Shortly after, I announced that I was moving to Canada.

I always wanted to travel, yet I never connected that dream with my wish for a bike. Recently, I read today's passage in Matthew and wondered yet again why a parent would withhold something that provides confidence, responsibility, exercise, and friendship. This time, I asked God.

My very next thought was that if I had owned a bike, I probably would not have come to Canada. That revelation gave me such joy! I could finally let this go.

God does not give us everything that we want, because He knows what is best for us. We can trust God. He has a plan for us!

Romans 8:28 – And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (NIV)

Prayer: Father in heaven, thank You for wanting what is best for us, and for wanting us to be the best that we can be. You may never reveal the reasons why we do not receive certain things, but help us to trust that it is only for our good. Amen.

1 comment on this post.
  1. PresbyCan Feedback:

    A good word, JJ.


    Blessings come in many forms.


    Yes, I have a few of those in my life! Awesome when you see it!


    I thank you for today’s devotional message JJ, and I thank God for you!!!


    Thank you, JJ, for sharing this special story, especially your “happy ending.”


    God works in mysterious ways! Thanks for sharing your story today that illustrates that He has a plan for each of our lives. Blessings.


    So sorry to hear that you have been struggling and that God was able to use this in your life. Have prayed for you. Thank you for connecting.


    Thank you for this well-written account of your understanding and faith today, JJ. Love your take on what our God has in store for us every day.


    Thank you so much JJ for your devotional today. It was exactly what I needed to hear and brought me great comfort. I pray that God will richly bless you and your family.


    Wow, I could feel the hurt and disappointment reading this…but as the joy at the end of all that is also amazing, happy you got to Canada and walking with God. All the best throughout 2019!!
    God bless.


    Dear JJ,
    How many times I can remember not getting what I wanted when, although I didn’t understand, God knew what was best for me. Sometimes we never know why, but you are blessed to know why you didn’t get a bike. Thanks for sharing.


    What a most interesting devotional and very insightful. My parents were “Depression” influenced their whole lives. As an only child, there was not sibling rivalry but I certainly did not get everything I wanted. Even as an only child, I remember things that happened that were hard to understand. Thanks, JJ.
    (Texas)


    Greetings,
    Thanks for this morning’s devotional. A good reminder that we must be patient and wait for the answer that God has for our requests as in the end His answer is the right one. I am sorry though, that you had to see others get a bike when you wanted one so much and can very well relate to that childhood situation.
    Blessings to you,
    (B.C.)


    Dear JJ,
    I too was unfairly treated sometimes in my own family.
    God has His way of making up for unfairness by offering us loving nearness to himself, and his Son and his Spirit.
    God is above all injustice and gives us so much more than we ask for. Let us be bold to ask Him.
    For his sake,
    Amen.


    I can SO relate to your childhood dream. I had wanted a pram so that I could promenade around my neighborhood. Obviously, to show off my new gift.
    I did not get one, and yes, I was disappointed. My younger did get one. Yes, I was annoyed at that injustice too.
    The relevance of this escapes me. I, too, was brought up in a London neighborhood, and in my adult years, came to Canada.
    I think what I am trying to say is that your writing reveals that we have quite a bit in common. That is one reason I enjoy your devotionals. More than that I see that God has been in control of my life my entire life, and the things that I felt deprived of, have in fact strengthened and honed me as a person. That is how God works and I am glad of it.
    Keep on sharing.
    Blessings to you,
    (ON.)


    Dear JJ Ollerenshaw,
    I just read your devotion about how God answers prayers in His way. I had an experience yesterday on this.
    We had a snow storm and I had to drive my husband to the hospital early the next morning. I had prayed to God to give me clear skies and moon or stars to help guide me.
    As we headed out two cars were behind me. I pulled over to let them pass. Shortly after, the first car pulled over until the second car went ahead. As we neared the car, my husband recognized it as our friend who travels this stretch of road every morning. We were able to use her tail lights as a beacon to follow.
    She slowed when the road was bad, speeded up when it was clear. We followed her this way until our paths separated as we entered the city.
    God did not give me the moon to follow like I prayed for but sent a friend to be our beacon of light in the dark! It reminded me of the scripture I read just days before when the Israelites followed the light at night and cloud by day.
    Thank you and God bless you.


    What a story and told so compellingly.
    I appreciate the reminder as I am praying about some things that do not appear to be materializing.


    Interesting devotional today JJ. Thanks for sharing your experience.
    (Ontario)

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