I’ve been watching Joyce Meyer this morning and just feeling so inspired, strengthened, and renewed! She’s been talking about this story of John Baptist from Matthew 11-
When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
See, John the Baptist was surely wondering “Why in the world am I sitting in here if you are out there? I have been preaching that you are the one who came to save us.”
But Jesus answered,
“Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosyare cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”
Jesus KNEW that many would stumble because of Him, because in this life things aren’t always going to end in “miracles, healings, releasing from struggles..” No, John the Baptist would be beheaded because of his faith in Jesus as the Son of God. He had been called to a painful road.
So, what does that have to do with roller coasters, you may be asking?
Well, as I listened to Joyce and became so RENEWED this morning, I thought to myself, “Tammy, you are a mess. You can be so sad one day and so full of questions. And the next day you can wake up feeling like you are walking with Moses or Abraham on the greatest journey ever. You make roller coasters look boring.” But then I thought to myself, “Life is so much like a roller coaster.”
Look at this picture. Just imagining the feeling in my stomach when barreling down a hill like this is enough to remind me that my roller coaster days are probably over. But there’s something exhilarating about the free-falling experience of a roller coaster’s plunge. Knowing that we are on a safe track and knowing that we will soon be shooting back up a hill to prepare for the next great moment brings a feeling of peace even in the midst of the chaos of the ride. There’s ups and downs on a roller coaster, but there’s control. There’s security on the track. There’s the promise of an end to the ride where we’ll get off and say, “That was awesome. Let’s do it again!”
I think we were created with a longing for suspense, drama, excitement, and unknowns. We just don’t always like having the starring role.
See, John the Baptist was on the kind of roller coaster pictured above. His coaster was headed into a track he had no way of predicting. His trust was totally abandoned to the Creator of the track. And truthfully, so is ours. We want to stand back and see our life from this perspective, saying, “Oh, I remember when things were great like that huge hill over there,” or “Wow, can you believe we survived that upside down time in our life? I thought it would never end,” or “I’m glad we didn’t know what was behind those trees before we got there, aren’t you?”
And we want to also see what’s coming next. Is it a valley or a mountaintop-view? Are we going to be holding on for dear life or sitting back and just relaxing for a while?
When I go to an amusement park, I love watching people in line for roller coasters. Some people are watching the ride with great intensity, evaluating every curve, examining the faces of people on the ride when they get off to see if they enjoyed it not (that’s usually me), some are oblivious to the ride and just enjoying the wait, some are even tearing up in fear and being encouraged by those around them that “they can do it.”
Here’s the deal:
We are all on a ride called “life.”
Our Creator designed each of our tracks. Some days are ups. Some days are downs. But it is the constant awareness that Jesus truly is WHO HE SAYS HE IS that keeps us pressing on toward Heaven.
Trusting Him in every twist and turn. Realizing that whether our hands are gripping tightly to the rail in front of us or are thrown up in the air in total abandonment that we are OKAY!
I’m thankful for God’s Word and how even the greatest men in the Bible had questions from time to time. That comforts me when I have questions too.
Nahum 1:7 (New International Version)
7 The LORD is good,
a refuge in times of trouble.
He cares for those who trust in him.
John the Baptist lived a life of extreme ups and downs. He baptized the Son of God and then suffered imprisonment and death because of His belief in Who He was. I’m sure he experienced a roller coaster of emotions along the way. But I am comforted to know that God cared for John the Baptist and was a refuge in times of trouble.
He’s our refuge too.
And in the end, if we keep trusting in Him, we’ll walk the streets of gold with John the Baptist and so many others amazing men and women of the Bible!!
What a day that will be!
Now, I call that a ride with a great ending!