Riding roller coasters might just be one of the most exhilarating and equally terrifying activities in my life. Many fellow roller coaster enthusiasts live for the drop- that moment where you look down and see the never-ending stretch of metal or wood that lies before you. Despite the dive into the unknown adventure, we make the choice to ride – confident that we will think it was worth it when it’s all said and done.
Have you ever asked yourself why we choose to ride? What makes us courageous enough to believe that a latch and a rickety-rackety seat can carry us safely through the drops, the loops, the dark tunnels? Well- it all boils down to one concept. Trust. We trust that we will make it through the adventure that lies before us and come out laughing on the other side- sharing stories of the cool, unexpected twists and turns that we conquered like a champ.
Can you imagine the power of trusting God with our lives in this very same manner? (For those of you, like my mama, who would never even get in the seat of a roller coaster- bear with me in this analogy). But truly, consider some of the rough circumstances in our lives – that terminal illness, loss of a loved one, break up, job loss, move to a city where you’re all alone. That broken friendship, sick child, job that makes you miserable. We are sent on what seems like the steepest drops of our lives, then shaken up, jolted, turned upside down, and sent through the darkest of tunnels.
God shakes things up to help us keep perspective. If you’re anything like me (or just human for that matter), the roller coaster of life starts shaking and you are ready to demand off! “God, okay it’s been an adventure for sure, but can we just fast-forward to the smooth sailing part at the end…you know, where we get off on stable ground and look back and say this crazy ride was worth it?” Sound familiar? I’ve got some news we might not like to accept, my friend. God is going to keep us on this ride until HE pleases. He knows that just a drop or two is not enough to build character. He knows that in order to help us to seek help from above, we must first see that this ride is not ours to control. He knows that it will take a few extra twists and turns to give us that heart change we really need.
So there you have it- that’s the bad news. We ultimately don’t have the power to control the ride. I know- you might be ready to stop reading this because your brain has reached its bad news capacity for the day. But there is good news! It all goes back to that one word from a few paragraphs ago- trust.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6
Here’s the thing. We will drive ourselves into misery if we try to understand all the details of our circumstance to the point of dwelling on how we got to this place and focusing on how to get out. We might even start to resent God for not allowing us to flee. But when we trust that the Lord is shaking things up for a purpose we cannot see or fathom, we learn and grow.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4
We have a bad habit of being a fan of God when he is blessing us with the desires of our heart, then forgetting he is still a good father when things don’t go our way. We like progress but not process. Our attitudes in the midst of these circumstances, hinder us from learning the lessons he is trying to teach us when the ride gets shaky.
- Are you shaking a fist at God because he’s shaking things up in your life? Is being angry with him helping any?
- What lessons might God be trying to teach you through this experience? What Christ-like attributes (patience, longsuffering, diligence, sacrificial love, etc.) can you acquire through this circumstance? Also- Think of a time in the past where he shook things up and you were able to look back and see the positive lesson in it all.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” Romans 8:18
My prayer for all of us: Lord, you have a will and a way greater than we could ever imagine. Thank you for shaking things up and reminding us that our trust should be in you alone. Help us to develop character and be open to the heart changes we need on this roller coaster called life. In your precious name we ask these things- Amen.
Remain hopeful. Stay anchored. Refuse to sink.