Screamin’ over California. It’s my girls favorite ride at Disneyland. They could go on it again and again without ever getting bored. I have to admit, I do love a good, thrilling roller coaster, and this one fits the bill. The first time I rode it everything was a surprise. My ears were blasted with rock music, my heart pounded with every twist and turn, and I could feel my hips lift ever so slightly from my seat when we reached the highlight of the ride, the upside down loop. I sure was thankful for that safety bar that held me securely in place. As I sped through the coaster on my first run, everything caught me off guard, it was uncharted territory for me. After a few rides though, I got to know when the turns were coming, when the upside down flip was, and most importantly, where the camera takes your picture so you can make a crazy face!
Isn’t life a bit like that roller coaster? Unexpected turns show up out of nowhere, and catch us by surprise. Sometimes our life is turned completely upside down without warning. But what about those same old trials that come again and again. They’re not so unexpected anymore. You keep falling into your old sinful ways, you can’t seem to make your money stretch enough till the next paycheck, your children don’t listen to you, or you and your husband can’t seem to speak without a fight. Before you know it, you are in the midst of the valley without even realizing you were headed there. You wake up one morning and look around to see the devastation wondering “How did I get here?” You know the feeling don’t you? Maybe it’s that constant nagging sense that the bottom is going to drop out, or the feeling that you’re walking on eggshells. You can feel like you are just starting to enjoy an awesome blessing that God has brought into your life, only to have it squashed by thoughts such as “This can’t last forever, I’m sure it’ll all fall apart sooner or later.” Or maybe you condemn yourself by saying “well, this is cool and all, but I’ll probably mess this up eventually, I always do.” Is any of this sounding familiar?
Sometimes when we look back at our lives, all we can see are the twists, turns, upside down flips, and unexpected stops much like the roller coaster. We often get so fixated on them. It’s easy to see ONLY the trials when that’s what we choose to focus on. As I think about the attitude I get when I only focus on my trials, I suddenly begin to feel like a spoiled child who didn’t get EVERYTHING on her Christmas wish list. I can just see myself saying “ok, fine so you answered this prayer, but what about THAT one? Huh? Why haven’t you answered that one?” What we need to do is stop and allow God to open our eyes to see the answered prayers that we sometimes choose to overlook. We need to be reminded of the victories God has brought in our lives. Looking back at this life I have lived, I can spot countless times that God has answered prayers that I had prayed for years, often things I never even spoke out loud, but He knew the desire of my heart. God hears all of our prayers, even the silent ones! Anytime God brings to my memory the triumphs He has brought, I am overcome with gratefulness.” My heart suddenly is flooded with prayers asking God’s forgiveness for a heart that seems to never be satisfied. In these moments of clarity, I pray that He would cause me to worship Him for who He is and for how far we have come together! That no matter what circumstances came my way, I would choose to see the victory rather than the defeat.
I should celebrate without holding back! Triumphs, no matter how small should be pointed out and recognized! Sometimes we find ourselves in a less stressful time, but we are holding on so tight our knuckles are turning white as we wait for the bottom to drop out. That’s not living the abundant life. Forget about ho-humming around wincing at every uncertain corner, waiting for everything to fall apart. God is at the helm! He’s the one running this roller coaster that we call life! His Word says that He rewards those who diligently seek Him. And one of the most amazing gifts He gives us is His peace. Peace to know that whatever twist, turn, or upside down flip comes, we are in good hands. We may feel like we are left hanging upside down for awhile here and there, but as children of God, we can have the confidence to know, that God is working to get us safely through to the end. He never leaves His post. God is, and always will be in control. So buckle up and hang on, this life is so exciting, you never know what sort of surprise is waiting around the corner!