True Lessons Learned
Story by Debra K. Matthews
Welcome! Here's another true Christian story from my collection of lessons learned and things that have really happened to me (including stories about miracles, angels, Civil Air Patrol and God's love and blessings). This is one from the eighties about God's patience and understanding as we keep falling down and messing up when we're learning to walk with him!
Ever Feel Like a Failure?
or: Learning to Get Back Up
Copyright © 1999 by Debra K. Matthews. All rights reserved
I had been doing this every three months for several years -- sitting in a tiny booth, answering phone calls, offering assistance to people responding to Billy Graham's televised altar call.
Tonight was different though. Tonight I was tired, and wondering what I was doing there. How could I possibly help other people when my own life was so full of failure and stupid mistakes? On this night, I felt so inadequate. I was sitting there during a lull in calls and wondering if I should just go ahead and leave.
The phone rang again and I picked it up. The caller was a nice sounding woman from the southwest. She started telling me how she would try so hard to do right, and then seem to just mess everything up, no matter how hard she tried. "How can God be patient with me when I mess up so much?" she asked. "Do you think he's getting tired of it?"
I knew just how she felt, as she elaborated for a few minutes on how hard she tried and just never seemed to get it right. As she paused and asked again if I thought God must be fed up -- the exact thoughts I had started to have earlier about my own life -- a picture suddenly formed in my mind.
Like a daydream, I saw a little baby who was learning to walk. The proud parents would smile and clap for the child and coax it on with each attempt, only to see it fall down over and over again.
I told the caller about this picture I was thinking about and how "we're like that little baby as it's trying to learn to walk. The baby keeps falling down, and then gets up and tries again, and falls down again -- over and over and over.
"The parents don't look at that baby, and shake their heads in disgust, and say, 'he's never going to get it!' Of course not. We know that babies are going to fall down a lot, but that eventually they will get the hang of it. Falling down is just a natural part of learning to walk.
"Walking with the Lord is like that, too. We're his kids and he knows we're growing and learning things day by day. And just like the little baby's parents don't give up and say, 'he's never going to get it!' God doesn't give up on us either. He's faithfully there coaxing us into each step, there to help us when we fall, and watch as a proud parent as we learn to take each new step. We're going to fall down a lot, but he'll help us get back up and keep going.
"And, yes, even though it seems to us like it's taking forever to get it right, remember there is no 'time' with God. A day to him is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. He's a good father, and a good teacher. He will bring us through, and not give up on us."
That night, both the caller and the "phone worker" had a renewed sense of hope and peace!
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Added September 12, 1999
Title Changed 6-3-2018