The Wild Ride of Faith
“… the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:3-4 (NIV)
On a recent trip to an amusement park, my boys and I decided to try out a new roller coaster. Well, it was new for them. I’d experienced it before and knew it was the perfect ride for my boys: One is a thrill-seeker, one is a thrill-avoider and one sits somewhere in between.
We approached the line and waited patiently for our turn. My thrill-avoider slowly became apprehensive about getting on the ride. He had time to wonder how fast the ride would go, how far the drops would be and how many sharp curves he would encounter. In other words, he had a long wait full of worry.
The closer we got to the front of the line, the more anxious he became. He started asking me for a way out — some way to avoid venturing into the unknown. I felt like a terrible mom, but I decided he would just have to go. We’d already waited so long, and it wouldn’t be fair to his brothers.
But here’s the other reason I made him get on the ride. I knew it wasn’t that bad. As a roller coaster-lover, I knew this ride was rather mild, and he would be just fine once he experienced the ups and downs for himself.
I knew he'd be okay.
He didn’t believe me.
As we approached the front of the line, the people behind us could see my son was visibly shaken and averse to moving forward. I assumed they secretly thought I was an awful mom. To my surprise, one of the ladies leaned toward my son and said, “Don’t be scared. I was afraid the first time I rode it, but it was super fun!”
Her encouragement kept him moving forward.
When it was our turn to ride, the park employee who controlled the ride noticed my son’s nervousness. He left his post and bent down to comfort my son, reassuring him that he would love the ride.
My son seemed a bit calmer. Resolved that the ride was imminent, he reached over and asked me to hold his hand throughout our journey.
More often than I care to admit, I find myself in line for something in life I’m unsure about. I anticipate the ride will be rougher than I want — too much for me to handle.
And I want out.
I worry. I whine. I cry. I beg God to get me out of the line. I’m apprehensive and anxious about the direction things are headed and I let the world know it.
But here’s what I’ve learned: While God may not always remove me from my circumstances, He is always with me.
He knows I’ll be okay.
I don’t always believe Him — particularly when I ruminate about all the things that could go wrong. Thankfully, God doesn’t let my apprehension or anxiety about my future stop me from embarking on rides I might otherwise avoid.
God doesn’t place me in situations where I will be tempted beyond what I can bear. He also ensures that when I’m feeling weak, I can hold on to Him, take comfort in His presence and trust in His strength to get me through. God, in His loving care, often places people in my path who’ve been on the ride I face and can encourage me to move forward.
We rode the ride that day, and my son screamed the whole time. He was that kid who hollered his brains out. But you know what? As we got out of our seats and made our way through the exit, he had a huge smile on his face. He’d enjoyed the ride. He even asked to ride again.
I’ve been walking with God long enough to know that building my faith often requires unexpected rides that may leave me feeling worried and unsettled. I’ve also learned that God can be trusted. He will hold my hand and be with me the entire way. And while the ride may seem wild at times — building my faith is the ride of a lifetime. And it’s one ride I’m learning to enjoy.
Dear Father, sometimes I struggle to have confidence when I encounter a wild ride of faith. Please help me to believe that You are with me to walk boldly forward, even when it’s toward the unknown. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Deuteronomy 31:6, “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
What wild ride of faith have you been on recently? What has choosing to trust God looked like in your life?
Have there been people on your journey who have encouraged you? What did they do or say that helped you continue in your faith walk?
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