A lot of us think we got where we are today by some progressive achievement of skill, talent, and hard work. The real fact of the matter is that God promotes and he is the one quite capable of holding us back from promotion on occasion, as well! If you have ever been "passed over" for some important task, or perhaps that 'next step' on the corporate ladder, you might have felt a little slighted, or like you 'deserved it'. You get a little ruffled, especially when you see someone get the position that you absolutely know you had greater skill to perform the tasks or a greater familiarity with the work being done. There are just times we don't understand the choices some will make to promote one over another, or how some seem to avoid crisis after crisis while you muddle through. One thing I have learned to trust over the years is that the God I serve is quite capable of keeping me from things I don't really want to be involved in and promoting me into those places where I do need to be involved!
There are a lot of ways God 'promotes' or 'deposes' - it is more than in the realm of career ladders. Every part of life is filled with moments of one rising to the top and another stepping back a little. My kids learned how to ride a bike by me running behind. At first, they needed my support, so I constantly reassured them I would not let go - that it would be me holding them up. At some point, they showed me just how capable of remaining steady on those two wheels they could be and I let go. They were 'promoted' to being independent in riding the two-wheeler, free of training wheels or a helping hand from mom. For a while, it was all about me holding them up. After a little bit, there came that moment of truth when they looked back and realized I was no longer holding the bike upright. For just a moment, there was a look of panic, but it was short-lived as they realized they were doing well now that they had been shown how to ride.
All of life is about learning new things - we never really stop moving away from training wheels moments! There will always be times when we are being 'groomed' by God for the next steps he wants us to take in life - working diligently to give us everything we will need in order to succeed in whatever that venture may be. When God sees fit to 'let go' of us, it isn't because he wants us to be out there on our own - he is just giving us a moment or two to realize how well he has prepared us for what we are about to take on! It wasn't long after the training wheels came off that my son started to create 'jumps' out of old pieces of wood stacked upon each other and sent himself sailing over the edges. At that point, I had to pull him back a little - demotion of sorts. Why? He wasn't ready for those jumps and those jumps weren't all that solidly put together. There are times when God pulls us back a little, and we might think it is so 'unfair' of him to do so, but realize this...he probably knows we are about to get pretty bunged up in the ordeal if we continue as we have been going!
My son eventually learned to jump those ramps, but I urged a little better construction (with actual nails holding those pieces of wood together). I also urged a little more 'lift' on his front tire so he'd not hit the ramp and jut forward, knocking out his pretty white teeth! What did I see that he didn't? The 'dynamics' of his movement and position. I could see because I wasn't the one riding the bike. I could observe his lean, hesitation, and even his speed. I could see that he tried to pull back on the front tire too early, not making connection with the ramp before he did. I could instruct him what to do to change the outcome of that jump. God does the same for us - while it may feel like a little bit of a demotion to just stop what we are doing and listen to him for a while, we can learn how to avoid a whole lot of unpleasant 'recovery time' if we do! Just sayin!