I did not ride my first roller coaster until I was 18 years old. I had managed to make it through most of my teenage years without having to face my fear of those big steel monsters. No one in my family rode roller coasters and neither did many of my friends in high school, so I was able to escape with little damage to my ego caused by the taunts of those who found the drops and twists and turns exhilarating.
That is, I was able to escape until I met my wife, Christie. You see, Christie loved roller coasters. So when we planned a trip to Six Flags with some friends after we had been dating for a few months, I knew I was in trouble. Before we even left, she was trying to convince me to ride with her. Now, being young and in love, I told her I would, but I secretly hoped that there would be something that would keep us from getting to ride. However, the day we went was sunny (no storms), the lines were short (I couldn’t stall), and all the roller coasters in the park were fully operational (no technical difficulties).
Eventually, I had to face the inevitable–ride the monsters or admit my fear to the woman I loved.
I was able to put off the inevitable for a little while. Every time Christie would bring up riding a roller coaster, I would suggest seeing a show or riding some other less threatening ride. However, resistance was futile. Eventually, I had to face the inevitable-ride the monsters or admit my fear to the woman I loved. I got on.
My first roller coaster was the Ninja. A 120-second ride that begins with a gut-wrenchingly slow climb to its 110-foot peak before dropping you 69 feet and hurling you through 4 inversions at a top speed of 65 miles per hour. It was awesome! We rode 5 times in a row. Now, these great steel monsters are not something to be feared, but something to be conquered-relishing in the exhilaration.
Life is a roller coaster ride. It is full of ups and downs; hills and valleys; twists and turns; and sometimes, it even turns you upside down-threatening to spill you out into a great void of nothingness. Like we would a roller coaster, we often face life with anxiety, timidity, and fear. When we find life in Jesus, he does not take us off of the roller coaster, but he rides it with us. He brings peace, joy, power, and contentment in the midst of all the twists and turns-the ups and downs.
Always be full of joy in the Lord.Philippians 4:4
Paul has a recipe for dealing with the roller coaster of life. In Philippians 4:4-7, he writes: “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again-rejoice! Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon. Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” With Jesus, the roller coaster ride of life becomes exciting and adventurous because we know that he is with us. How amazing!