Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Today’s Topic: Roller Coasters
Today’s Text: Isaiah 41:28 I look but there is no one—no one among them to give counsel, no one to give answer when I ask them.
I don’t like the new ones. Some of the old ones that just went up and down were okay, but these new roller coasters scare me – you know – the ones that go upside down and swing you way out around curves hanging helplessly in space twenty stories above the ground. That’s not for me.
Lately life has been like one of those new roller coasters. There are moments of excitement as the buggy I’m in slowly comes up over the top of a huge hill and I see the incredible vision of all that is laid out before me. Then there’s the thrill of taking off down the hill towards it all. But invariably there is a sharp curve at the bottom of every hill that throws me off track and puts fear in my heart. The vision is blurred by the speed of the turn and change of direction. Occasionally things even get turned upside down and it all seems backwards as the buggy speeds away in the opposite direction of the vision I first saw. When do we get to the “coaster” part of this ride?
As I contemplate this analogy, one truth comes to my mind that stabilizes my thoughts – fear is the absence of trust. What I don’t like about roller coasters is that I’m not sure I can trust those little tiny wheels to hang on to that steel rail. I know they are clamped on, but when I’m hanging way out over the edge of a huge curve hurtling at break-neck speeds I’m not thinking about all the testing that went into those wheels and clamps, or the hundreds of times they have safely travelled this route before. My mind chooses to focus on what could go wrong, and I bet yours does too.
That’s the root of seeing life as a roller coaster ride – choosing to focus on the twists and turns rather than the God who designed them all to build our character and accomplish His purpose. God has been this way before. He has tested every aspect of our journey and determined that it is good and that is for our good. He is the one who can be trusted. My fear is the product of not trusting Him.
When life doesn’t make sense, where do you turn to try to figure it out? Like most of us, you probably turn to the counsel of people. The futility of that response is shown in Isaiah 41 where God speaks to the people and says: (read this carefully)
“Present your case,” says the LORD. “Set forth your arguments,” says Jacob’s King. “Bring in your idols to tell us what is going to happen. Tell us what the former things were, so that we may consider them and know their final outcome. Or declare to us the things to come, tell us what the future holds, so we may know that you are gods. Do something, whether good or bad, so that we will be dismayed and filled with fear. But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; he who chooses you is detestable. I have stirred up one from the north, and he comes—one from the rising sun who calls on my name. He treads on rulers as if they were mortar, as if he were a potter treading the clay. Who told of this from the beginning, so we could know, or beforehand, so we could say, ‘He was right’? No one told of this, no one foretold it, no one heard any words from you. I was the first to tell Zion, ‘Look, here they are!’ I gave to Jerusalem a messenger of good tidings. I look but there is no one—no one among them to give counsel, no one to give answer when I ask them. See, they are all false! Their deeds amount to nothing; their images are but wind and confusion.
So when you’re hanging out over a curve, or screaming as the bottom drops out and you head down a steep slope, look up. God designed this roller coaster just for you, and He can be trusted to keep you safe.