It’s a beautiful sunny morning, you got your walking shoes on and a lot of sunscreen on your arms and face. Your closest friends are with you in the car as you drive up to the amusement park. You see the coasters in all their glory: red, yellow, loops, giant hills, towers, turns and cork screws. Today you will ride them all. Twice, even. Your heart races with excitement. You start to dig your ticket out of your pocket as you walk with your friends to the front gate. You exchange a piece of paper for entry to the park and skip/gallop/run/speedwalk to your favorite ride in the park. You arrived early to beat the lines and lucky for you no line existed! Your friends and you weave all through the empty line and get to the station and have to catch your breath. The voice over the speaker catches your attention:
“Welcome riders. Just a heads up, we changed a few things. Not to worry though, you’ll be fine!” You glance around, puzzled. Everything appeared as you remembered it from your last visit. You shrugged your shoulders and just a few moments later the gates opened allowing two riders at a time into their seats.
You take a deep breath and begin to look for the seat belt, and lap bar. You don’t see any of them. You look around, a little panicked, your friend can’t find a a seatbelt either. You raise your hand. An employee with acne and messy hair comes over.
“Um. yes? ” He grumbled.
“Yeah, um, there’s no lap restraint or seatbelt.”
“Right. But there are handles so just hang on. You’ll be fine.”
You couldn’t believe what you were hearing. He was right, there were plastic handles right in front of you, but no way you were strong enough to hold on for yourself. There’s a lot of forces at work in a ride that are way stronger than you; gravity, force, momentum, etc. You’d been on this ride before and sure you held on to those plastic handles, but that lap bar was holding you in far more than your own two hands.
You decide to step off the ride. The disgruntled employee murmurs “Whatever dude.” And opens the gate so you can leave. Your friends follow close behind.
A few weeks ago, I heard an analogy that stuck with me. When a father is holding his child, who is really holding on to who? if the child lets go, does the Father drop the child and scold him for letting go? No, of course not. The Father lovingly holds the child even if the child lets go. I tell you this and a I told you that story to remind you of who really is really holding on to who: God is holding you.
It’s easy to think that we have a grip on things, that we are holding ourselves up pretty well, that our relationship with God is going great cause of our own power. But, that’s as foolish as thinking that when we ride a coaster, we are holding ourselves in with our own strength. Look, life is going to throw you around, always remember, if and when you let go: God is there providing protection, love, strength and courage to face each day. It’s by His power and grace that we are alive today. And if you ask me, with the Lord’s power and love protecting me, I have nothing to fear, I can trust in Him. Through the darkness, through the hills, the turns, the loops and throughout the ride I’ll raise my hands in the air and trust that He has a far better grip on me than I ever had on Him.