Friday, August 14, 2015

Riding the Roller Coaster

I must say up front that I’m not a fan of roller coasters.  Many people are though.  They love the anticipation of that slow, upward climb to the peak of the mountain.  Then the anxious wait as the coaster tops the hill, slowly creeping toward the drop off.  Then holding their breath as they lose sight of the tracks just before the coaster plunged down the steep embankment and the thrill ride begins.  Twists, turns, sudden drops, I left my stomach back at the last drop off thank you very much. What keeps this thing on the tracks for Pete’s sake?

Sometimes life seems like a roller coaster. With the same slow anticipation of what’s next, the sudden drop, the twists, turns, and the plunge down the steep embankment, we often feel as if we won’t make it to the next surprise.  Do we even want to?  I won’t lie; life often takes us on some wild rides.  But the difference in experiencing a terrifying ride and a ride that’s exciting is who we have running the ride itself. 

Who’s Running This Show!

Many people have said, “My life is like a roller coaster; up and down and I never know what’s next” or “I’d like to get off this ride now!”  I’ve often felt that way myself, wishing I could just get off the ride and catch my breath.  But looking back I find that the ride was more pleasant and tolerable, if not enjoyable, when I was focused on God rather than my circumstances.

There are people today who would rather dwell on the circumstances they’re given.  They focus on the disease rather than the Divine.  They focus on the trauma rather than the Truth.  Over and over again they just wish that the roller coaster would stop so they could get off when in reality they should be clinging to the Ride Master Who is riding alongside them.

Jesus never said that following Him would be easy.  Instead, He said that we would have troubles. We would go through the valley.  But He never said we would go through it alone.  He promised that He would never leave us or forsake us.  He never goes back on His promises.

If God’s so good then why are bad things happening?

God is a good God.  He’s just.  He’s fair.  But most importantly, He loves you.  So why are you going through the bad stuff in your life?  What did you do?  Not necessarily anything.  But because of sin in the world (you can trace it back to Adam and Eve if you’d like), bad things happen.  Because Lucifer got too big for his britches and wanted to take over Heaven, God kicked him out along with one-third of all the angels because they followed Lucifer.  Take a guess at where they were kicked out to!  Here.  So when God created Adam and Eve, the best way the enemy saw to get back at God was to attack His kids.  He’s been doing it ever since.

Yes, stuff happens to us as the result of our own disobedience at times.  But when sickness, disaster, and just general bad things happen to the innocent for no apparent reason, it’s because there’s sin in the world.  I can’t explain it away, nor do I have an answer for it all.  But I know the One Who holds tomorrow and I trust Him.

When life gets seemingly out of hand, my life, I run to the Lord.  I know that He has my back, my front, my sides, all of me.  Things don’t always go as I planned them.  But it’s not about my plans.  It’s all about His plans for me.  His plans are good plans.  His plans are to prosper me, to elevate me, to give me hope, to give me a future.  If something bad happens along the way, it’s a learning moment for me.  It’s the same for you, too.

When I suffered so long in depression, severe panic and anxiety and fear (I often say sheer terror because I was that afraid), I thought I’d never get out of it.  I felt so hopeless and helpless.  I couldn’t focus on God because I was convinced that God hated me.  This is the work of the devil, dear lovelies.  He will say and do anything he can to make your life miserable.  He was doing a bang-up job on me at the time.

But through all the pain, the sorrow, the tears, the confusion and the heartache, I kept holding on to the thin thread of what was left of my hope.  I kept trying to remember that He promised never to leave me or forsake me, even though I felt like that’s what He had done.  I know that when we’re in the deepest, darkest moments; when the roller coaster is plunging down that steep embankment, life looks bleak.  We may cry out in despair asking, “Why?” Or we may lash out at God screaming, “Why aren’t You doing anything!”  Then we cling to the crossbar of the roller coaster as we are flung sideways in our seat. Let me encourage you today:

Throw your hands in the air and yell, “Weeeeee!”

Yes, it sounds crazy.  It also throws the enemy off and makes those around you stop and stare.  Yet, no matter what we are going through, financial trouble, sickness, loss of someone we love, loss of home, vehicle, job, whatever it is, God knows about it, He is working on our behalf, and He has you in the palm of His hand.  You may not think so while you’re right in the middle of the roller coaster ride.  It may seem as if your cart is going to plunge off the side of the tracks.  Just trust me when I say that God will only do so much, but He won’t intervene until you let go of the cross bar. 

God is just waiting for you to let go so He can reach in and help you.  Don’t listen to people who say, “God helps those who help themselves.”  That’s a lie.  It’s also not in the Bible.  God helps those who ASK HIM FOR HELP.  It’s also not quite true that “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.”  God never gave you that disease.  God never caused anything bad to happen to you.  God didn’t wreck your finances.  He didn’t take your loved one away from you.  God doesn’t do anything bad.  God is good.  Satan is bad.  So if you want to know why bad things are happening, it’s because of the “bad one.”

I don’t like giving the enemy credit, because it brings attention to him.  But we have to talk about him a little bit here and say that if you’re focusing on the bad stuff, you’re focusing on the devil.  You need to refocus your attention.  Seek God first.  Call out to Him.  Press Him just a little bit. Lean in, press in, don’t give up because He’s waiting, willing, and wants to help you.

Wooo! What a ride!

Is your life taking you on a roller coaster ride?  Rather than cling to the bar wishing you could get off, throw your hands up in the air, call out to Jesus, and then yell “Weee!” as loud as you can.  Enjoy your ride because when you get to the end you’ll get off and say, “Woo! What a ride!”


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