I remember learning to ride a bike. It wasn’t pretty. My dad started me in the grass. He’d run alongside me as my little legs peddled, and handlebars wobbled. I wouldn’t know exactly when my dad let go of the back of the bike, but eventually, I’d notice his encouraging voice growing distant, “Keep going. You’re doing it.”
Once I was able to keep my balance in the grass, my dad graduated me to the road. We lived in a circle on the slope of a hill. He’d start at the top stay with me as long as he could, I remember the blur of the road under the wheels, the wind on my face, and my chest expanding as I realized. “I’m doing it. I’ve got this.” Then I noticed the curve in the road. I panicked. My dad’s pounding footsteps sounded behind me while he yelled, “Turn, turn, turn the handlebars!” I didn’t turn. I crashed in a heap in a drainage ditch.
My dad picked me up, dusted me off, and helped walk my bike back up the hill to try again. A couple more ditch crashes and a run-in with a mailbox, and I became a biking pro. My dad and I marched back into the house, exhausted and bruised, but with a satisfying sense of accomplishment.
Life can often be like learning to ride a bike. One moment we think we’ve got it—we can do this on our own—but the next thing we know, we’re lying in a ditch while our Heavenly Father pulls us out and dusts us off. He helps us get back on the bike and runs alongside whispering, “This is the way, walk in it.” – Isaiah 30:21.
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The ocean waves didn’t appear rough. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as my dad and I took a late afternoon dip. I didn’t even notice anything was wrong until my dad started cutting through the waves toward a woman with her young son. They’d gotten caught in a riptide and were being pulled out to sea only a few yards away from us. I witnessed the sheer panic on the mother’s face as my dad grabbed her hand. He pulled her and her son laterally toward him and out of danger into calmer water.
My dad didn’t make much of it. He used to be a beach lifeguard while in high school and recognized the signs. He walked them back to the beach, and then we went up to have dinner with the family.
We all need rescuing.
Dangers can sneak up on us quicker than we realize. The Bible says the devil prowls like a lion seeking those he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). If we are not alert, we can easily step into a riptide that will pull us away from the shore’s safety. Often the ocean seems calm, or the path appears smooth, but it’s usually the small insignificant decisions that over time steer us into a road we do not want to travel.
Thankfully, we have a hero watching over us. He commands His angels to guard us in all our ways (Psalm 91:11). He also gives us His Holy Spirit whose gentle nudges guide us in making course corrections.
It got me thinking. What are the qualities of a hero? Dictionary.com defines a hero as “a person noted for courageous acts or nobility of character.”
Here’s my list of the qualities of a hero:
Heroes are present. God says: “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:8
Heroes are altruistic. Jesus said: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”- John 3:16
Heroes are quick to act. The Bible says: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow.” – Hebrews 4:12
Heroes are protective. God says: “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him.” – Psalm 91:14-15
Heroes are admired. The Bible says: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” – Psalm 19:1-2
Heroes save. The Bible says: “The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves.” – Zephaniah 3:17
If you are in desperate need of rescuing, which most of us are or have been at one time or another, lean into the one who truly saves. Rely on His strength, wisdom, and guidance. I like to recite Psalm 91 over myself and my household to remind me of God’s power and the lengths he will go to protect me.
I am so grateful for such an awesome Heavenly Father, who has saved me and rescued me time and time again. I am also thankful for the people He has put into my life who point the way and walk with me, like my church, my small group, and my parents.
In honor of father’s day, I want to give a special thanks to my dad. In my eyes, my dad is a hero. Not just for saving the woman and her son, but for teaching me how to ride a bike, forcing me to eat my vegetables, and encouraging me to save and invest my money. His wisdom has rescued me from a lot of poor choices.