I—a self-proclaimed, lifelong scaredy cat who did not dare attempt anything I thought I would fail at—had laid the two-wheeled apparatus down in the yard and was resigning toward the glass storm door. It was too hard. I couldn’t balance. I was too scared.
“No! Get back over here and get back on the bike! GET BACK ON THE BIKE!”
Startled by his loud insistence, what else was there to do but get back on the bike?
My brother had learned to ride his bike a year or so before me, always just a few milestones ahead of me in all things. Now, he could get to his friends’ houses much faster than he could if he were just using his two feet. I would watch him fly down the vertical hill in front of our house, pedals void of his feet as momentum and gravity did all the work. Had I thought it possible, maybe I would have wanted to be like him? But I never tried to imagine what the air of a western Kentucky summer might feel like windborne on my face. It was too hard. I couldn’t balance. I was too scared.
But somehow, my big brother taught me how to ride my bike that day. Even though I could have done without the yelling, his urging made me feel like he believed in me. He wouldn’t have beckoned me back if he didn’t think I could do it. There was no indication on his indignant face that implied he doubted me. After all, he would be there when the weight of my seven-year-old body shifted a little too far to the left, and I was bound for the torrid asphalt of Evangeline Court. He would be there if I approached a curve too quickly and headed straight for the rose bushes in Mrs. Mahoney’s front yard. And he would be there to yell, “See, I told you!” when I finally got the hang of it.
There are days when the commands of God feel daunting and shame dares me to resign myself from His presence. It’s too hard. I can’t balance. I’m too scared. I can’t fathom that I’ll ever be able to measure up or be who God requires. Unlike my childhood imagination, I know exactly who I want to be. I want to be holy. I want so badly to please God. Inevitably, though, I do what I said I wouldn’t do—and I don’t do what I said I would. I long for a life where my first instinct is to search the Scriptures and not traverse TikTok. I want to live in a body that is kinder and less irritable, one that’s quick to think the best of others instead of assuming the worst about them. I want to use more of my time and experiences to pour into and disciple other women, yet I so often opt to keep my schedule to myself.
Therefore, he had to be like his brothers and sisters in every way, so that he could become a merciful and faithful high priest in matters pertaining to God, to make atonement for the sins of the people. For since he himself has suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are tempted. — Hebrews 2:17–18.
Are you discouraged? Are you afraid of falling? Christ, your brother, is here to guide you. He is here to keep you steady. He has already gone before you, and He will not let you fall. Jesus is our true and better older brother who went first in suffering and death, and was first in resurrection. He lives now and He beckons us to stay the course and pedal until we see His face on that bright and eternal sunny day. He will be there to exclaim, “See, I told you!” when we get over there where there is no longer fear of falling. Just as my brother learned to ride his bike first, enduring the scrapes and bruises, Christ our brother endured the pains of humanity so that we might be forgiven of our sin and to help us when we are tempted.
Jesus became like us so that we could become like Him. Because He is acquainted with every temptation, fear, and grief that we face, He is the One who is equipped to help us through them. Jesus sanctifies us. He is making us holy like He is holy. He is making us obedient like He is obedient, concerned more and more with doing the will of our Father—His God and our God. A true pioneer, He did not exempt Himself from the means of our sanctification. Jesus suffered to save us from our sin, and therefore understands us in our suffering. As He stumbled carrying His cross up to the hill where He would die, He knew then that we would stumble too. Yet, He calls us to get back up. He is the brother we always needed, training us and enduring with us.
Additional resources on our identity in Christ