Author: Larry Ely (Youth Pastor)
A few summers ago, I was at Kings Island amusement park with some students. We were totally pumped to ride one of the newer rollercoasters called the Banshee. We got in line and watched the people scream as the rollercoaster twisted, turned, and flipped around the track. “That looks sooooo sweet!” we said to each other. The fun new ride sat four people across and the cars hung below the purple track. As my friends and I got buckled in, our feet dangled down & the anticipation began to build. The air brakes released and the coaster started rolling and climbing that first big hill “clink, clink, clink” went the gears as we tightened our grip. The anticipation rose to a climax as we reached the peak. People screamed as the coaster dropped and twisted into the first big loop… whoosh! What a rush! The wind whipped past our screaming faces and we couldn’t help but smile in excitement and fear. “This is AWESOME!” We loved it so much we jumped back in line & rode it 3 times in a row.
Life is a lot like a rollercoaster. It is full of ups & downs, peaks & valleys, mountaintop experiences & deep dark pain. On a rollercoaster you need the different elevations in the track to make a fun ride. Without the dips & valleys, the rollercoaster wouldn’t be able to generate enough force to do a loop-de-loop and the riders would miss out on that first big drop that takes your breath away, makes you scream like a little girl, and wet your pants a little. But when it comes to life I’d rather have the peaks and the perks without the pain.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. Struggles, difficulties, hardship, and pain are part of the harsh reality of a fallen world. Maybe you have had some pain in your life: emotional pain or physical pain. Hurt feelings, broken friendships, broken hearts, & broken bones are all very painful experiences. I’ve been laughed at, embarrassed, made fun of, bullied, not made the team, had my heart broken, broke a finger, lost a friendship, lost a loved one, had my favorite pet die, had a friend die, and it all hurts. The valley of pain can be a sad & lonely place. It can be a challenging and uncertain time. Our heart gets beat up, our body gets beat up, and our souls can take a beating too. I wish I could take the pain away, but I can’t. So I am left, like you sometimes, wondering why God lets all this stuff happen.
Well, I don’t have a great answer for the “why”. I am not sure why things have happened to me, to you, to our families, and to our friends. Deep down I can start to lose hope. I can get sad, depressed, & angry, and I find myself in a funk. But that’s when God reminds me that I am not alone, that we are “overcomers”, and that He promises to walk through the pain with us. He may not take it away, but Jesus can relate to our pain and suffering. He asks us to trust him & rely on his strength and not our own. That’s so hard to do because I want to fix it, but I can’t. I’ve got to let it go and give it all to Him.
So, when life’s rollercoaster throws your for a loop, don’t panic and freak out. Remember, that God is still in control and that He cares about your situation and wants to help you through it. Tell God how you feel, ask him to help you, share your pain with a trusted friend, & learn to get back up again. There are better days ahead.
- “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” -1 Peter 5:7
- “For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” -Philippians 4:13
- “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” -John 16:33
- “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” -Matthew 11:28-30
- “Show me your ways, O LORD, teach me your paths; guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.” -Psalm 25:4-5
Text: © 2016 LCC- F.R.O.G. Youth Ministry * Used with author’s permission * Image: © Kings Island