Roller Coaster of Life
By Gary Piper of Fort Gratiot, MI, USA
A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. —Isaiah 40:3–4 NRSV
If someone were to ask you to describe life as a carnival ride, which ride would you choose? A repetitive ferris wheel with no surprises? A jerky roller coaster? A confusing house of mirrors? A stomach-turning tilt-a-whirl? A sudden bungee drop? A frightening haunted house? A nice, smooth train ride? Or is there another one that better describes your days?
Personally, I would describe life as a roller coaster; but not one that just goes up and down. Life has ups and downs, sharp turns, even twists like a corkscrew at times. It slows down then speeds downhill at breakneck speeds. Some enjoy roller coasters; however, I am not one of them. I would rather life be like a ride on a slow train with an occasional valley and slow-rising hill along the way.
Despite my rather-not-be-on-a-roller-coaster life, I enjoy my days and having fun—after all, carnivals are all about having fun, right? Perhaps I cannot relax during the ups and downs, sharp turns, and corkscrew twists. But I take can rest because of my ever-present companion who continually whispers, “Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my victorious right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
To John the Baptist and others of his day, Isaiah 40:3–4 was an introduction to the coming of Jesus. For me, it affirms God’s continual presence in my life through my connection with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. It also promises what Jesus does with my topsy-turvy life. As in today’s scripture passage, I hear the voice of the one who describes the life we have with Christ. Not always fun, but smoothed out with joy and love.
Prayer for Peace
God, sometimes we wander from you; sometimes we are torn from you. We find our way back, for you are always where we left you. You are our strength and our peace.
Spiritual Practice: Healing for Broken Spirits
Begin with quiet prayer. Ask God to help you detect some “sore places” in the body of Christ and God’s creation. Become aware of people who feel separated, wounded, or left out. Reflect on or write a short journal entry of healing words to at least one person who comes to mind. Ask God for words that will touch this person’s broken spirit like healing ointment. Keep this person in your heart and prayers today and act on any ideas that come to bring blessing and wholeness.
Today, God, I will make sure I do not lose contact with you.