“Mom, look! That clown rides funny!” Six-year-old Rachel pointed at the clown riding a bike that bobbed him up and down.
Later, while putting on her jammies, Rachel asked, “Why did that clown’s bike ride funny? Mine doesn’t do that.”
Smiling, her mother said, “Honey, that clown’s wheels looked like the axel – that center hub of the tire – was off-center. His was built funny to make you laugh because you know bicycles aren’t meant to ride wild.”
Tucking her into bed, Rachel’s mother said, “Life is like a wheel, Rachel. Our lives are designed to turn smoothly. It does, with God at the center. We don’t like being thrown wildly up and down, but we can get off-center fast.
“Do you remember pulling your sister’s hair when she wouldn’t get you a glass of milk? You yelled at her, she yelled at you – then she yelled for me? In the end, you cried because you didn’t get your way, and because you felt embarrassed for getting caught being pushy. No one likes to realize that we are selfish; that we aren’t perfect.
“You might also remember,” Rachel’s mother continued, “how later, you helped your friend find her doll’s missing shoe. You were patient and determined because you like Lily. At Children’s Chat with Pastor Claire, you shared that was when you felt closest to God all week.
“It was a lovely example of putting God at the center of your life – and you felt God close.”
“Mommy,” Rachel interrupted, “I want God to be in my middle, but I forget God a lot.”
“Of course, sweet one, believe it or not, adults have to practice keeping God at the center too. It isn’t easy and it takes a lifetime, but the more we practice noticing God every day, in big ways or little, the more we realize God is always there.”
“But Mom, I do bad things even when I don’t want to. Besides, sometimes things are really hard – like when Dustin had to move – I hate when my friends move. It’s hard to remember God when I’m sad.”
“Well, my love, what a great place to begin your prayers tonight. You might think you have to keep life turning smoothly like a wheel, but God wants that job. God’s the hub. Your part – and mine – is letting God be. A Bible verse says, ‘If you have eyes, see; if you have ears, hear.’* So let’s pray and keep looking to and listening for God together. Let’s see how smooth God can make our ride!”
* Mark 4:22