Amusement Park Rides

In a way, the experiences we have in life are like a big park full of amusement rides.

I grew up going to Silver Dollar City in Branson, and the rides there remind me of experiences I’ve had in life.

There’s American Plunge: a peaceful boat ride until the very end when suddenly your boat climbs a tall hill and plunges down a ramp.  I’ve had times when everything was going along peacefully and then–wham!–an unwelcome surprise.

There’s Thunderation: you can ride backwards on this roller coaster.  I’ve certainly felt like I was riding into life facing backwards.

There’s Powder Keg: a roller coaster than accelerates so fast that you can’t tell the climbs from the drops.  I’ve had times in life that have left me feeling breathless and out-of-control like this ride.

There’s Lost River: a boat ride partly in a cave and partly in the beautiful sunshine.  This reminds me of when I hit a shady spot I didn’t expect . . and when I’ve come out of a dark time to see the brightness of hope, too.

And there’s the Barn Swings: you go up in the air and free fall down on the right, only to go up in the air and free fall down on the left, only to go up in the air . . I’ve had those times, too.  It feels impossible to catch your breath or find your bearings because there’s too much chaos, panic, and grief that keep striking over and over.

Yes, in a way, the experiences we have in life are like a big park full of amusement rides.

The difference is, while rides are just for entertainment, every experience in our life has purpose and has been allowed by God.  Since God desires all of us come to know Him, every experience we have is permitted for the purpose of drawing us (and others) to His love.

This is an impossible truth to understand without God’s help.  If you’re struggling with wondering how God could allow you to have a certain experience in your life, pray to Him and ask Him for help.

Remember that He is the one who entered our world and chose the most unbearable experience of all–carrying the burden of all our sins–so that we could be saved and live forever with Him.

Thinking about us as being on rides can help give us a compassion for friends and family who are not where we are.

Maybe you are riding the train right now, and all you can see is how beautiful and wonderful life is.  Maybe your best friend, though, is struggling on the worst roller coaster ride of her life.  Or maybe just the opposite.  Maybe you are on a vicious spinning ride you can’t wait to get off of, and your best friend is on the carousel spinning so gently she doesn’t understand why you’re struggling the way you are.

Best of all with the analogy of a ride, is the fact that a ride is temporary.  No matter how many drops, upside-down loops, or spins, a ride must come to a stop.  As Christ followers, we have hope in Christ, that He will be right beside us in all our troubles and that, one day, He’ll put a stop to all our sorrows.  Until then, as believers, we can hold to the fact that we are in the temporary part of eternity.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

 

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