I just saw a TV commercial for the latest thrill ride at Six Flags. The ride takes you 100 MPH from a standing start in 7 seconds then shoots you up a 41 story tower. Then the ride drops you in a 415 foot free fall that gives you the sensation of weightlessness for 6.5 seconds. As I sat here watching the ride filled with people with their hands raised high, several thoughts went through my mind. I thought about how we are willing to trust imperfect humans to construct a roller coaster ride that we willingly stand in line 2 hours to ride that is designed to give us the sense of impending doom (thus the term thrill ride) with little to no information about the ride or the people operating the ride.
You have to admit there's a lot of trust involved in riding a roller coaster. And day after day all over the world people eagerly stand in line to be "thrilled". How many of us have asked to see the maintenance records or checked the competency of the kids operating these rides before we agree to be thrilled? Not only that, be we allow our children to be thrilled by these rides without giving a second thought. My wife and I won't allow our 17 year old to ride in a car with a fellow 17 year old driver without first meeting him/her and reasonably making sure that they are good drivers, but we don't even bother to introduce ourselves to "Timmy" the roller coaster ride operator!
Our Christian lives can be real life roller coaster rides. We face medical ups and downs, employment ups and downs, and relationship ups and downs just to name a few. But in the roller coaster Ride of Life, we have the opportunity to meet Jesus, the builder and ride operator. He knows the layout of the Ride of Life. He built the ride and no one is more familiar with it and how it operates than Him. He briefs us and coaches us through every challenge of the ride, if we're smart enough to listen to Him. While on the ride, He constantly monitors us and if the ride becomes a little too much for us to bare, He backs off and slows the ride down a little (1 Corinthians 10:13).
He supplies us with a copy of the ride's manual, the Bible to combat any fears we may have about the ride. Our ride operator lets us know that even though our senses may be telling us one thing on the Ride of Life, we are to pay no attention to what we feel, but instead use our manual to navigate through the ride. He loves it when we lift our hands and shout on the ride. By lifting our hands, we show Him that we don't feel the need to hold on out of fear, but that we trust Him to safely get us through every curve the ride throws at us. And if all of that wasn't enough, our ride operator actually goes on the ride with us to make sure we get through the ride safe and secure (Matthew 28:20).
But even with Jesus, the builder and operator of the Ride of Life, and the Ride of Life operations manual, by our actions we seem to be able to trust Timmy, the fallible ride operator at Six Flags more with our lives. Hmmm, now there's something to think about.....
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