My favorite part of amusement parks is the roller coasters. I love going fast. I love spinning around. I love screaming at the top of my lungs and letting a great big “Yeah doggie” as I am hurled around a dark corner going 55 mph. I love roller coasters. When I was young roller coasters terrified me and I never would ride them. I am not sure when that changed, but it changed in a big way.
I therefore really enjoy the cameras on roller coasters that take a picture of you just before the big plunge. They capture you at the moment of losing yourself in the ride. Those pictures reveal something about us. You can see if you are scared, exhilarated or just having fun on the ride. (My favorite thing to do is to figure out where the cameras are and smile right at them with a big thumbs up like I am the coolest guy on the ride. This never ceases to amuse me.)
I loved watching the different faces of the people in the pictures on the rides we rode in Florida. Most people had a sense of terror/excitement as they took the big plunge down Splash Mountain or Mt. Everest. What was especially fun was seeing my daughter on these rides. I was determined to get her to love roller coasters on this trip. I made her ride every big, scary, fast moving ride in the parks. And you know what, she loved it.
The first couple of pictures showed her holding on tight, mouth open in a scream with a slightly bewildered and terrified look on her face. But by the end her hands were in the air, her face was smiling, and she was letting out a joyful roar.
Following God can feel like a roller coaster sometimes. There are lots of unexpected twists and turns, there are scary moments, and there are dark places where we don’t know what is coming. But if we learn to draw close to God in those moments we can find wide eyed joy along life’s roller coaster. We can find that when the rest of the world is cowering in fear we have our hands in the air and we are smiling, trusting in God the whole way. I hope today that the camera finds you with a smile on your face and your hands in the air. It is the only way to ride.