Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Ride of Your Life

(FROM 2010)

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

            Tim and I had taken the kids to the new waterpark in town. Our children were amazed that there could be so much goodness in one place. Over in one corner was the Kiddie Pool, then the Lazy River wiggled it’s way around the outside of the Leap Frog Pond and another swimming pool. On the other side there was a huge play area that looked like it had been created by a mad scientist – complete with several slides and a large barrel of water that tipped over onto any unsuspecting soul that happened to be splashing around below. But the crowning glory was high up above: The Water Slides. I tipped my head back and looked up at the twisting metal tubes. Hearing the screams coming from within, I wondered if it was as fun as the slides occupants seemed to think it was. Feeling a sudden shot of bravery, I decided that perhaps it was worth the trip up the three flights of stairs.
            “Wanna go on the water slide with me?” I asked Amy. She nodded her head with excitement so we grabbed an inner tube for two. As we reached the stairs, we saw Tim and Tyler having a little discussion in the corner.
            “What’s wrong?”
            “Tyler doesn’t want to go on the water slide,” Tim said, a hint of frustration in his voice.
            I knew that Ty was likely a little afraid, so I decided to quickly take Amy before his fear rubbed off on her. Grabbing her hand, we turned and began the long climb to the top.
            “Don’t look down, don’t look down, don’t look...” I told myself over and over as I kept my eyes steadily on the steps ahead of me. Unfortunately, with advice like that, all I could think about was doing just that so, of course, I looked down.
            Somehow though, seeing my son standing down there watching me from far below and my daughter climbing fearlessly up ahead of me, I decided to toughen up and take it like a… woman! Besides with the long line of people behind me, my only choice really was to keep going.
            Once we reached the top, we set the tube into the pool of water. Amy climbed into the front and I sat behind her, stretching my feet up to hang onto her little body.
“Surely she’s a little scared!” I thought. I knew I’d certainly feel a little better if she at least acted like she wanted me there, but she appeared completely unconcerned with what was ahead.
            I stared around her into the dark tunnel. I knew we were in for a crazy ride, and my heart clenched at the thought of it. Suddenly the light above us turned green and off we went, into the darkness. We turned right, we turned left, flew around another corner, shot outside, twisted back in, saw some light, then darkness and suddenly were spewed from the innards of the tunnel into the pool at the bottom of the slide.

            And I screamed the entire time.
            I was speechless. I was breathless. I… I wanted to do it again! I couldn’t stop laughing. That was so much fun! It hadn’t lasted long enough!
            Amy and I climbed out of the tube and met Tyler and Tim at the edge of the water. The look on our faces must have been enough for Tyler, because he grabbed a tube, asked Tim to come with him, and raced for the stairs. When he landed at the bottom a few minutes later, his eyes were bright with excitement, and the rest of the day he spent climbing those stairs over and over, wanting to take one wild ride after another.
            Sometimes I worry about what God is asking of me or what my future holds, but God showed me such a clear picture the next day when I was thinking about the fun we had had at the waterpark. Life can be like that waterslide. It looks dark up ahead, and who knows what all the twists and turns are going to be. We have questions. Is it scary? Will I get hurt somehow? Where will this take me? Am I making the right decision to do this? But what I was reminded of that day, is that God is always with me. He’s sitting there in the tube with me. He’s got me in the palm of His hand, and He’s not about to let go.
            Better yet, He knows what lies ahead. Psalm 16:8-11 says, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because He will not abandon me to the grave, nor will You let Your faithful one see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; You fill me with joy in Your presence, with eternal pleasures at Your right hand.”
            Oh, to be more trusting, like a child. Amy didn’t question our decision to go even once, and she was blessed for it. I hate to think of all the joys and blessings I have missed out on in my life, simply by not trusting my Father in everything. My instinct is to take the path of least resistance. Something safe… and comfortable.
            “Oh, my child,” I hear Jesus whisper, “I know you can’t see where we’re going, but when it’s over, you’ll be so glad you came along! So hang on, it’s gonna be the ride of your life!”

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