One of my fondest childhood memories is swinging. Let your mind wander back to those early years…
From a child’s eye view, a swing is big and exciting. You sit on the swing and grip tightly the chains or ropes securing the swing to the tree or swing-set. It looks so easy, but how can you get up high like the other children you have envied? You try, but the swing just twirls around in a circle. Your feet drag against the ground; this is not much fun.
Soon, you see your father coming and you yell out, “Daddy, give me a push!” He steps behind you and gives a strong push, followed by several more. You begin to soar! It’s wonderful while it lasts! You seem to be as high as rustling leaves atop the trees. Gradually, the swing slows down and you drift closer and closer to the ground. Feeling safe, you jump from the swing and run off to play on the slide, monkey bars and seesaw.
Later, you notice older children on the swing set. Nobody is pushing them; yet, they swing higher and higher. They really hold your attention. When one finishes you ask, “Can you teach me how to swing?” He laughs and replies, “It’s easy. You just sit down on the swing and swing!” He walks away and you feel very small and just plain dumb.
Each time you return to the playground memories resurface. Oh, how you would love to learn how to swing… You want so much to learn how to swing all by yourself. One afternoon your father goes along and after he gives you a good start on the swing you turn to him with imploring eyes asking, “Daddy, will you teach me how to swing?”
He grins and tenderly replies, “Yes, little lady. I think you are ready for a lesson! Hang on tightly to your ropes and just push your feet forward, then back, forward-back, forward-back, again and again. See, you are starting to go higher! Do you feel muscles in the back of your legs hurting? It’s hard work I know, but you are getting higher. The more you push, the easier it will be, forward-back, forward-back.” The lesson ends and you walk home hand-in-hand with your hero. You feel dizzy and short of breath but very proud of yourself. You have learned how to swing!
Days, weeks and months pass quickly by. Now, swinging is so easy you take it for granted and only faintly remember a time when you could not swing without assistance. One evening, just before sunset, your father tousles your hair and says, “Let’s go swing!” You eagerly accept the opportunity to have his undivided attention. Arriving at the swings, you remember how things were before, when you could not swing by yourself.
“Daddy, will you push me?” Quietly, he moves directly behind you. You cannot see him; you only feel his hands placed against the top of your back. His hands are gentle, yet firm. You expect him to give one strong push, maybe two and then you will do the rest of the work. He surprises you saying, “Relax. Don’t pump your legs forward and back. Let me push you.” It’s incredible! You go higher and higher, reaching such a height that if you did not trust your father, you would beg him to stop.
You walk back home with little chatting; suddenly he stops just before reaching the house. “Daughter, your life ahead will be like swinging. Sometimes problems will seem so big and hard to handle. Friends may not be much help. They may even laugh at you as you ask for help. God will be there to give you the push you need. You will work your muscles of faith, forward-back, forward-back…, learning lessons of how to walk in faith. The more you exercise your faith, the easier it will be to follow His directions. Like a swings ropes or chains, He is our lifeline. Hang on tight! He will invite you to relax and let Him take over.”
As an adult I welcome the helpful hands of my heavenly Father.
“Be still, and know that I am God (Psalms 46:10a NKJ)
He alone strengthens me and allows me to soar!
“But those who wait on the Lord
Shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings like eagles,
They shall run and not be weary,
They shall walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:31 NKJ).”
You are never too old to learn how to swing. Can’t you just sense His hands upon your back?