Roller-Coasters and Ferris Wheels

Carnival rides have been an attraction to young and old alike for a very long time. I remember as a child, seeing the colors, lights, smelling the smells, hearing the sounds of the carnival that came to our neighborhood outside of Memphis and thinking Wow!! Look at that!! So much fun!!! But—though it looked like fun, no one could ever talk me into getting on the roller-coaster. I loved the Ferris wheel, it seemed much safer, but that roller-coaster…No mam/sir…boy howdy…I was NOT going to ride that thing! And I did not take a chance on that particular kind of ride until I was in my early forties, when I allowed a good friend to talk me into the risky business of riding what seemed like certain death to my mind. When I disembarked I was wobbly kneed and a little shaken, but I had survived the beast all in one piece and even laughed out loud along the track.

How many of us realize that life can be like a roller-coaster? The up and down nature of the ride remind me of the peaks and valleys we live in this temporal realm. What about the break-neck speed at which this ride comes hurtling over the tracks? Does it seem out of control? To many of us the answer may be a resounding “YES”!! But, no matter how fast the twists and turns may come there is one thing that remains sure…God does not shift with change, nor does His holy immovable nature. The question is do we know that we can also have embedded this same quality that is immovable, steadfast and sure? The answer to that, according to our scripture, is yes. We too can be steadfast. What trips us up is forgetting that the divine DNA of Christ has made us new. (I Corinthians 5:17) If I have His divine nature in me in enough capacity to make me new, then I also have enough capacity to find steadfast ground to stand on while life comes hurtling at me with intensity and breakneck speed.

Now let me mention the Ferris wheel. With all its seeming safety, the Ferris wheel is not a safe place to be either. Ever watch a hamster in a wheel? Round and round and round he goes and never does he get anywhere. Safety is not a good qualifier when it comes to living a life in faith. Often, in fact, most of the time when we are challenged to get on the roller-coaster, and ride the ups and downs  we want to resist because to do so would require that we make changes, or that we take a chance with a risky decision. Christ Jesus was the ultimate risk taker! Not once in the Gospels do we ever read of Jesus saying no because His answer required Him to take a chance. Jesus was never afraid to take a chance. So why are we?

Most of the time, the answer to that is…we are living in fear…fear of failure, fear of what people would say, fears of, or for our reputations. Philippians 2: 5-8 tells us that He (Jesus) did not fear for His reputation, but was obedient to His Father and our Father even to the point of dying a death that was considered to be appropriate only for the lowest of the low of humanity. Cursed is anyone who hangs on a tree…(Galatians 3:13). He was humiliated beyond anything you or I could possibly imagine, and He did it all for us so that we could have Life Abundantly IN Him…

Remember this when life becomes a roller-coaster. One…The Ferris wheel is a life of futility. Don’t keep doing the same things you have always done thinking that somehow this time will be different. God brings us fresh new mercy each and every day and His plan for us does not include a Ferris wheel of perceived, human safety.

Two…Romans 8:35-39 tells us that N-O-T-H-I-N-G will EVER, EVER, EVER separate us from the Love of God which is in Christ Jesus Our Lord…Live largely…Love radically…Trust in God…He is the creator of this wonderful ride we call LIFE…God bless

Grace and Peace,
Pastor Kathy


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