Rollercoasters scare me something bad. This summer I went to Hershey Park with my church’s young adult ministry and those 20 year-olds had me on every coaster ride like I was still their age. My poor little body was screaming inside, wondering why it was being pulled from one high height to the next; my poor stomach dropped within me too many times to even count. Despite me telling the group that I didn’t “do coasters,” they insisted that I ride every ride with them. To begin my coaster experience, they recommended that little pirate’s ship ride. You know the one that is shaped like a ship and it literally rocks back and forth, using momentum to rise higher with each rock- yeah, that was the “easy” ride they suggested for my first ride. I remember sitting on the ride and instantly closing my eyes as it prepared to drop. I soon realized that I could have my eyes open during the rise to ascension, but that during the drop, I needed to close my eyes so that I couldn’t see what was about to happen. In closing my eyes, I didn’t allow fear to penetrate, but I allowed the wind to gently caress my face and excitement to wash over my heart. I rode every ride that they selected that day and I did the same thing on every ride. I bravely watched the heights and closed my eyes with faith during the falls.
Beloved, that’s faith.
According to Hebrews 11:1, faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. Faith is trusting a God that we can’t see to do the things we can see. As I rode those rides, dipping, turning, and swaying with the machinery, I was trusting the engineers that I could not see to sustain me on the ride that I could see. And that is what we do in life.
With each rise, I looked out around me, taking in the scenery from that particular ride. It was so beautiful at times. I saw not only the beauty of the park, but also the surrounding areas. As a photographer, my heart took many pictures that I am literally flipping through as I write. It truly was a beautiful experience. And as the ride reached its peak and began to fall, I closed my eyes and let the wind kiss me on my cheeks as I trusted all that I could not see. Have faith that the God that you cannot see is handling all that you can see (and more!).
Life is about trust.
As someone who has been hurt one too many times by others, trust is a hard word for me to comprehend and a hard act for me to extend. I am always so sure that someone will hurt me again and betray my trust. So I keep most at a distance and those whom I have let in are securely fastened within the harness of my heart, unable to leave even if they wanted to. There is no in between for me- either I trust or I don’t. But that is not how God intended for us to live our lives. In sending His Son to die for our sins, He sent His Son to bridge us between one another. He literally became that bridge that allows us to trust others because He is the reference that we need.
Imagine life’s relationships like one big interview. We submit our resumes and references and show up in our best. We answer questions adequately and appropriately and then wait for the interviewer to phone our references to confirm that we are just as great as we say we are. Well, Jesus is the best Reference that we could ever have! His shed blood says that we can be trusted to do anything because He vouches for us. Trepidation may come in a situation and we may have an instinct to be weary or distrustful, but we have a Reference that steps in and says, “trust Me, it is ok, this situation is ok, this person is ok- I vouch for them/it.” Thank God for His reference! Trust the Reference.
As we ride life’s rollercoasters, Beloved, there will come moments when we will be too afraid to face what lies ahead of us. We will want to run and hide and try to avoid reality as much as possible. Dare I say that that is the precise moment when we should open our hearts and use our Reference in Jesus. We can have faith and trust that He is right beside us, leading us along every adventure that we take. The beauty of this journey is that like a rollercoaster, we think we know what to expect but there are always subtle surprises that the designers built so that no two experiences are ever the same. Open your eyes, Dear Friend, and see where God is taking you and then let Him caress and carry you through it all.
That’s all life really is- trust, faith, and rollercoasters.