May 12, 2021
by Pastor Dan
It took me a long time to get into roller coasters. As a kid, there were countless trips to amusement parks, whether it was through school, youth group, or a family outing. I would go on the occasional roller coaster, but for years it wasn’t necessarily because I wanted to. In time, though, I came to recognize internally that my life wasn’t actually in danger on those things—they were all well-designed, well-built, and well-inspected—and that all it took was a change of perspective to shift those stomach-dropping falls into an exciting feeling rather than a terrifying one.
I still had a problem with going upside-down, though. That felt like a bridge too far. But the ever-adaptable nature of the human spirit means that even I could get comfortable with something like that too, given enough time.
It’s been years since I’ve been on a roller coaster; I honestly couldn’t tell you the last time I had occasion to ride one. And you know, I think I would still enjoy them as much as I finally did. I’ve certainly done scarier things than that since.
I grew to love the tension of clanking inch by inch up a steep incline, your body pressed back against the seat, waiting desperately for the first sign of what’s to come when you finally crest that first hill. I came to relish the exhiliration of dropping, uncontrollably, down a track you have only yourself to blame for ending up on. Bucking without slowing around every corner, screams of joy and terror behind you and snatches of idle conversation whipping by as you zip past families in line for fried dough.
There comes a certain point where you’ve paid your fare, you’ve waited in line, you’ve buckled yourself in, and you are committed to this ride, wherever it takes you. The surrender is freeing, and embracing it—really, letting go of it—allowed me to enjoy a good roller coaster more than grasping desperately for some illusion of control over myself or the ride I was on ever could.
That’s the attitude I’m facing this Sunday with, and all the Sundays to come. We’ve paid our fare, we’ve waited in line, and we’ve buckled ourselves in. Up we clank, inch by inch, and in a few days this ride takes us where it will. We’ve done our part, ensured that this coaster is well-designed, well-built, and well-inspected, and now it’s time to lean back and enjoy the ride. Now God’s the one in control, and if God thinks we’re ready for a loop-de-loop, then by God we’re ready for a loop-de-loop.
That’s my attitude as we prepare to ride the roller coaster of our first indoor worship of the pandemic on May 16, and it’s an attitude that I encorage you to bring to as many areas of your life as you can. To badly misquote Rascal Flatts, life is a rollercoaster and I’m gonna ride it all day long.
Now who wants some fried dough?
“For surely I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
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