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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: Glorious Hilltop
By Rachel Burkum


The sound of the cars being pulled to the top of the first hill rattled in my ears and made my teeth clang together. I knew it would just get worse after that first drop. The back of the rollercoaster was the most horrible spot to be if I wanted a smooth ride. But I wasn't there for smooth. I was there for fun.

The cars slowed, and I dared a look down, down, down. But I didn't have much time to enjoy the view, and for a moment, I thought I'd be left in mid-air as the car plummeted. With my hands firmly gripping the safety bar though, there wasn’t much chance of me being left behind.

The air whipped through my hair and stung my eyes. I think a scream slipped out. How ironic that I loved the plunging motion of the ride, when in life, I hated it...

The death of my father hadn't been a surprise. But his passing had still left a gaping hole in my heart. Six months had gone by, and the wound still felt as fresh as it had the day his hand had slipped from mine. I knew he was with Jesus. But I longed to hear his voice...

My head jerked back as the valley on the track was reached then immediately left behind. My insides lurched as I was pressed against the seat on a much faster ascent than the starting hill. It was the first time I wondered if having lunch had been wise. Oh, but the thrill! There was nothing like coming up from the bottom to rise again, headed to the top of the world...

I wouldn't have dreamed of such a response to the plea for help. The blessings had come in droves, amazing me even though I'd been praying for help. Everything had seemed right. Everything had seemed good. The joy had overflowed...

Another cry of glee mixed with terror escaped my lips as I dared to let go of the bar for the next speedy descent. My whole head seemed to rattle along with the car as if the coaster was trying to shake out all of my teeth. Hitting the bottom was another hard jolt, providing just the right amount of whiplash to bring my hands back down to the bar...

Parting ways with my childhood friend had been as bad as ripping my heart out of my chest. Neither of us had meant half of what we said, but the words flew out of our mouths anyway. I had felt alone, rejected and miserable. I was partly to blame, but even so, the bridge had been burned to a crisp. I never saw her again. Plummeting down that hill had almost convinced me to let go of God's hand...

Whisking around a tight curve, the centrifugal force pulled me to the edge of the car. My eyes were barely slits, but my smile was stuck in place - literally. I knew my favorite hill was just ahead. Up, up, up. I bounced around in the seat like a battered ping-pong ball. The scenery flew by in a blur, intensifying the feeling that I was flying...

I hadn't expected personal growth out of the mission trip to that neglected city. But while helping those people, something had happened to me...on the inside. Never had I felt closer to God. Never had I seen the work of God so clearly. And to think that He had chosen to use me in that field. I would never forget how my spirit had soared...

This time around the curve, I slid in the other direction, hanging on for dear life. It was the last big turn, leading the little train back to its starting place. My toes tried to grip the floor as we successfully conquered several more small hills. Then the car started to slow. I knew that my disappointment would lead to another ticket and another time around.

Gradually pulling up next to the platform, my eyes drifted heavenward. "Take me higher, Lord. Bring me up from the valleys to the hilltops high above the skies, where the shadows of the lowest trials are but remnants of a past left behind."

On the rollercoaster of my life, I knew that I would come to rest on the most glorious hilltop with my King.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Lynda Schultz 04/09/09
Excellent writing. Life does have the ups and downs of a roller coaster, and I especially love the prayer at the end.
Verna Cole Mitchell 04/09/09
Your analogies of the roller coaster illustrate excellently the ups and downs the Christian experiences. I, too, loved the ending prayer.
LauraLee Shaw04/09/09
Wow, your example is very effective, and it takes masterful writing to pull it off in this way. Amen!
Sonya Leigh04/13/09
It's great to know we will end up on the hilltop of Jesus no matter the downs of life. I like the double entendre of the line "I thought I'd be left in mid-air as the car plummeted" as a metaphor for life's rollercoster ride.
Bryan Ridenour04/14/09
Wonderful entry that I could definitely see in a devotional book reminding us all about life's up and downs.