Kyle looked like he was going to bazooka barf.
“Sure, it looks terrifying from down here… but up there it’s nothing. 94 mph isn’t as fast as it sounds… and the ride’s so smooth… just like riding a bike up and down hills, man. Only WAY more fun.”
Kyle nodded his head nervously and blew out a little puff of air. First time on WILD THING at Valley Fair. The cars roared past us in a blur, and he shot a glance at me. I nodded reassuringly. Before he had time to think about it any longer, we had made it through the line, and it was time to step into our own car. Right in front. I told him it was best this way for his first ride… being in front made the initial 207 foot drop feel like riding the escalator down to the first floor at Ridgedale. He was going to be fine. Everything was going to be fine.
Kyle swallowed hard. The cheery voice of a Valley Fair staffer boomed from a nearby bullhorn.
“Please keep your hands inside the car at all times and secure any loose articles…”
“You’re going to be fine, Kyle. This is a blast. No worries…”
Down came the pneumatic safety bar, securing us into our seats with a click. And before he could say “aeroacrophobia,” WILD THING lurched forward.
“…Kyle, this is the scariest ride I’ve ever been on in my life. I thought I was going to die the first time. Almost flew out of my chair. You better hold on tight, man. The front is the worst, too. I can’t wait to see your face coming over the top of that first huge drop. You can’t even breathe, it’s so fast. I hope you don’t black out, dude. They usually lose two or three kids a day on this thing…”
I’m a horrible person. I know. And it was so awesome.
I tell this story for two reasons… first of all, because every time I remember Kyle’s face at that moment, just cresting the initial free-fall into the abyss, my heart floods with mirth. So much so that I did the same thing to my mom. That story isn’t quite as funny.
But I also tell this story because I think it makes a great metaphor for the way some people think of God and the way He wants to mess with us. Can’t you just imagine it? God is walking you through the line, on your way to the next adventure for Him. Maybe you decided to resign from your job and pursue seminary. I mean, that would be crazy talk, right? Or maybe He really IS sending you to be a missionary in Africa. Or maybe you’re going to have that talk with your brother after all.
You’re in line for the ride, and your knees are knocking, but you can hear God’s voice…
“…good works which I HAVE PREPARED IN ADVANCE for you to do…”
“…don’t worry about anything, pray about everything…”
“…nothing can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus…”
“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it abundantly…”
It’s almost your turn to step into the front car, and you begin to confront your deeper fears… the ones you didn’t realize were there all along.
Is this really what God wants me to do? Am I hearing this right? Am I in the right line?! Or worse yet… is it possible that this IS the right line, but God has been reassuring me – leading me here with false promises of peace and safety – for a ride that might be dangerous, or disturbing, or painful?
God doesn’t promise peaceful circumstances. He offers peace inside when your fall is the farthest.
God doesn’t promise safety. He promises to be with you in danger.
Yes. This is your line. His promises don’t change when the ride is rough and the drop into the unknown is terrifyingly precipitous.
God won’t pull a bait and switch. Like I did to my friend Kyle. And my poor mother.
God loves you beyond imagination, and He doesn’t want you to spend your few remaining days comfortably ensconced at the food court with a funnel cake. There is Kingdom work to do, and this ride really might be a scary as you think it will. King Jesus will give you direction, and He’ll walk you to the line, and fuel you with His truth as you wait. As you prepare.
And then He will get in that car with you, and grab hold of your shirt. Because from what I can tell, this ride has no safety bar…
“rollercoasters, the will of God, and how I almost killed my mom” by Joshua Skogerboe is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.