The only way I have found to keep from peeing my pants on a roller coaster is to sit in the very front car, look at where the tracks are going and think to myself “c’mon, go faster…faster…faster!” I stare straight ahead and convince myself I am in control of every turn, every roll and loop. I trick myself into believing that I am making the car go faster and it can’t keep up with my demands. I lean forward, almost as if to squirm out of the harness because I have to be stronger than the centrifugal force pressing me back into the seat…I cannot let the coaster be in control. Ironically those crazy nutjobs who sit around designing such rides, guys who take seven years at MIT and mix it with the maniacal scheming of a 5th grader taping frogs to firecrackers, spend their days trying to outwit people like me… they want the rider to feel as if the world has cracked off of it’s axis and gone spinning out into the cosmos…and to make them puke. It’s a battle between their ability to throw me for a loop and my ability to stay in control.
The irony of such rides is that I am never, from the moment the bar comes down to the last stomach churning loop, in control of the ride…it’s the pimple-faced high school kid with a studded belt and wallet chain sitting at the control panel who determines my fate; he has the ability to stop the craziness or let it continue. I am completely helpless.
Letting go is hard.
I have no doubt in God. I know, beyond faith, that God is. I know that God knows me, that He loves me, and that I can trust Him to bring me through anything…I have heard Him tell me so, I have seen Him prove it. …still, looking at the future from my limited, inadequate human perspective I get worried. Can you believe it? I have always read the Old Testament accounts of the Israelites and wondered “how could a people who witnessed the power of and sovereignty of God with their own eyes continue to whine and despair at every obstacle?” …but to be honest I am no different. Day in and day out I cast my golden statues in the various shapes of my gods… job, cell phone, debit card, guitar, friends and the list goes on. When I hit a wall I turn to my little golden gods and my heart drops through the floor because they wobble and tip over when I come running to them… …when the roller coaster gets going my little golden seat belts start to bend and break and I start to lift up off the seat and I hang on tighter and tighter to the things that can’t save me. Finally, as a last resort, at such a point that it makes me look foolish, I come running back to God for Him to once again prove to me that He alone is big enough to save me from my fears.
We are all fast approaching a looping-barrel roll-tunnel-curvy place in the tracks… my stomach is somewhere in my throat and I am frantically trying to convince myself that I am in control…but I’m not… none of us are. For all our planning and preparing and scheming, none of us have any idea what tomorrow will bring. You could wake up sick, you could lose your job, lose a family member or a friend… you could wreck your car, have your water shut off, have your wallet stolen or your house burn down. You could drop your cell phone in the toilet. All the things we depend on to get us through life will show just how weak and fickle they really are…
Oddly enough, I am not afraid. Correction: I am terrified out of my mind, but I can see that God is constant, His presence is pervasive, all encompassing and sustaining. Nothing I have means anything to Him, but I mean everything! I have been doing my best to follow Him since I was 15 years old, and I am only just beginning to realize the magnitude of His presence… why would a being who holds creation in His hand, who formed our very existence with little more than a thought, who knows me completely and better than I will ever know myself, want to “know me better”? ..as if He could. In all the size and vastness of the universe, why does God choose to linger just in front of me looking into my eyes every moment of my life, even though most of the time I don’t even bother to look back…?
…why does He continually whisper “Ryan… I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you…” over and over and over even though most of the time I don’t even bother to listen?
I cannot escape Him any more than I can escape my own skin…why do I find it so hard to let go? Why is it so hard to let Him be in charge?
God is. God is good. God loves me completely, without condition, for all of eternity.
Watch out, I’m letting go.