Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rollercoaster Ride

This past summer, I took some students to an amusement park in Toronto called Canada's Wonderland.  We had a great time and went on a ton of roller coasters, but one in particular really has me thinking today.  The newest roller coaster in the park is called Behemoth.  Let me give you just a few of the stats on this wonderful 'little' ride: 

Physical Dimensions
Track Length: Approximately 5, 318 ft (1620.9m)
Lift Height: Approximately 230 ft (70m)
Angle of Descent: Approximately 75 degrees
Time, Speed, Capacity, Design
Ride Time: Approximately 3 minutes and 10 seconds
Speed of First Drop: Approximately 77 miles/hr (125kms/hr)
Ride Capacity: Three 32 passenger trains, with four seats per car
Ride Design: Fibreglass and steel coaches with lapbar restraints

Some of you may say, "big deal" or "so what", but there is a reason that I included the lapbar restraints in the stats.  You see, all that is holding you in on this amazingly fast journey is one little plastic looking lapbar that pushes down against your inner thighs.  They have handles on them and other than that, you are free to move.  It is quite intimidating when you sit down and start climbing that first hill and realize that the only thing that is holding you in at 230 feet in the air is this piece of plastic.  I held on for dear life!  I was somewhat afraid.  At one point (just before we reached the peak) I said to one of the youth, “Is it too late to get off”?

Life is like this a lot of times.  We see a mountain before us and we start to climb it and we realize that the only thing that is holding us in as we climb the mountain is our faith in God that He is going to help us over this mountain.  Some of us even get almost too the top and turn around and go back.  We forget that God is with us and that He won’t leave us or bring us through to the other side.  There are situations in my life (even now) where I still wonder if I can climb the mountain.  There are times when I wonder if my faith in God will get me to the other side of the mountain safely, but God wants me to trust Him and not climb back down the mountain.  He wants me to let go of the lapbar and trust that He is going to keep me safe.

Back to the roller coaster ... I survived the ride.  I remember when we crested the hill I proclaimed, “LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL THIS IS!”  I was in awe!  And the rest of the ride was an absolute hoot (even at 125kms/hr).  It was such a joy that I went on it a second time with one of my youth leaders and this time ... this time I didn’t hold on to the lapbar and I felt so free!  I felt like I was flying and trusting.

Maybe you are coming up to a mountain for the first time.  Let me encourage you to trust God with your reaching the summit.  Let me encourage you to keep going despite how difficult the climb or how high the mountain might seem because God will not leave you.  You might have to hold on to the lapbar, but God will eventually teach you to let go and trust Him.  Once you do, you will feel like you are flying.  And whatever you do, don’t forget to enjoy the beauty of the top and give thanks for all that God has brought you through.  The best part is ... once you reach that top ... the rest of the journey is so enjoyable because you know that God is going to bring you through.  Let go! Let God!

A Family That Plays Together ...

Just a little over a week ago, my girlfriend and I had the pleasure of going to the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra.  It was an amazing time together and I have to say a special thank you to her next door neighbour for blessing us with the tickets.  It was a wonderful night together.

While I was sitting there listening to the different scores of music being played, I was in absolute awe of how all the different instruments worked together to make a beautiful sound.  Each musician had an important part to play and they each knew what that role was.  Without the second violin, the piece wouldn't sound the same.  Without the first French horn, the piece would have a total different interpretation.  It didn't matter what chair you sat in, each musician was important to the overall sound of the piece being played.

Then it hit me, the church today is supposed to work much like this group of musicians were working together.  Each of us has an important part to play.  It doesn't matter in which 'chair' we sit in, we have a role to fill in the greater purpose of the church.  We are not just seat fillers, but we have purpose.  Sure, some of us take on more recognized roles like pastor, deacon or elder, but those roles are not more important than the greeter, offering counter or kid's program volunteer.  Each person brings a completion to the whole sound of the completed piece.  We are all members in God's orchestra and we are to make a joyful noise.  If one of us doesn't support the whole, the full sound isn't accomplished.  We are all important into what God is doing and how he wants to do it whether we are recognized (like the pianist was that night) or whether we go unnoticed.  The truth is, we don't do it for the recognition; we do it as a service to our Heavenly Father.  In Paul's letter to the Colossians, he urges them: "Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Remember that the Lord will give you an inheritance as your reward, and that the Master you are serving is Christ.  But if you do what is wrong, you will be paid back for the wrong you have done. For God has no favourites"(Colossians 3:23-25, NLT).

The night was thoroughly enjoyable and I was very fortunate that I was able to share it with such an incredible girl, but I am also grateful that in those moments when we least expect it that God uses something so simple, yet so beautiful to remind me of His plans for me.  I am truly a blessed man and I have a whole new appreciation for His Orchestra.  Play on, church!  Play on!

Never Lose the Passion,