Roller coasters are a favorite of mine. The faster and more extreme, the better; and if it is new, it is for me. The anticipation of the rush, yet the nerves that kick in while waiting for the ride, is part of the exhilarating experience. Freedom, wind, furious turns and then solid ground once more is what makes the roller coaster worth almost any wait.

Life is much like a roller coaster, yet it is definitely not a favorite. It requires not knowing what is around the next bend of life and many times I panic as I anticipate the coming drop. Now I know that God knows what is around that next turn, and that I should trust Him, just as I trust the structural engineer of an actual roller coaster with my life. And yet, when life begins to get fast and furious, with dips and darkness, all I want is to get off the ride and have stable, solid ground. I don’t look forward to, nor would I wait in line for the roller coaster of life.

One of the disappointments of a roller coaster is that many times, the wait is so long, that the one minute ride is much too short. But I am willing to bet, that again, the engineers know what is best for a human body when experiencing g-force speed and that less is in fact more in terms of minutes on the ride. God also knows what is best for my human body and just how much testing I can endure, while strengthening my faith in Him. He monitors my progress on the ride of life and is prepared to do what ever is necessary to bring me safely through making me mature and complete, not lacking anything.

The Bible tells me that I am to recognize this trial as pure joy because of what comes at the end it.

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4

My structural engineer knows exactly how much I am able to bear and with the trial, He will give me a way of escape. He straps me into the particular thrill ride, reminds me of the rules, “Thou shalt keep all hands and arms inside the vehicle, do not get out until the ride comes to a complete stop and most importantly, keep your focus on Me.” Many times there seems to be no end in sight and this is when trust in His loving omniscience is crucial. But when the ride does come to a complete stop and I am able to walk away, I realize a critical part of growth and reliance on the One who created both the ride and the rider has occurred.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. I Corinthians 10:13

I live at a roller coaster park. It has not been a walk in the park however, and when one ride ends, and slow meandering for thought and pause is allowed, it is only to realize that I am still in the theme park and that nothing has changed. But, the Architect of my life and this park never changes either. He also holds my hand on the spiraling out of control aspects of life. He never leaves me, or abandons me when I don’t think I can handle one more drop or twist. He walks with me, while wandering to next “ride”, encouraging me and reminding me of all the times He has never failed me.

I know that one day, I may leave this particular theme park and be led to another type of roller coaster adventure some place else, where all the “rides” are new and all the trials seem impossible, but God goes with me always and everywhere.

Walking with God is usually not an easy, breezy, spring day, but rather like stepping onto a loud, metal machine, buckling up and holding on to the One who holds my future in the palm of His hand. He sets the limits, keeps my coaster on the track and never lets me fall.
1 comment
  1. You wrote that “my structural engineer knows exactly how much I am able to bear” and that “God also knows what is best for my human body and just how much testing I can endure, while strengthening my faith in Him”. I’m curious about your understanding of people with severe depression and/or people who commit suicide. Are those people whom God pushed too far, beyond what they were able to bear?

    You might answer that suicidal people should just have more faith in God, and then they’d be able to bear more. But especially as a Calvinist, wouldn’t you believe that God had already chosen who would believe in him and who wouldn’t? At any rate, anyone who believes in an omnipotent God would have to believe that everything that ever happens is part of God’s plans — including people killing themselves.

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