One of the great perks of living in Florida is that there are so many great places to get away and take a break from the stress of life. Whether the beach, springs, lakes, nature trails, or theme parks- there is so much to do! Our family has enjoyed going to Busch Gardens recently. Camilla is scared of roller coasters, but I love them. There is one ride however, where the roles are reversed. Have you heard of the Falcon’s Fury? Camilla loves this one, but it scares me to death.
Falcon’s Fury is a 335 foot freestanding drop tower. There are 32 seats arranged around the tower- riders grab a seat pull a restraining harness over their shoulders and buckle up. Ride attendants then walk through and make sure everyone is secure. Then the ride begins and you start lifting up into the air. At first it is fun… you’re not too high up and it is great to see up over the different parts of the park. But you keep going, and going, and going… getting uncomfortably far into the sky and then finally coming to a stop. This is when things get crazy- the seats pull back 90 degrees so you are starting straight down over 300 feet to the ground. All that is holding you in place is that safety harness. And then comes the pause. I don’t think I’ve ever had a longer 5 second pause in my life. Just sitting there, hanging, waiting, fearing for my life. It’s insane. Then the drop comes and it is a rush of adrenaline, a relief when the brakes come on and you slide back to the ground in the position you started. It is a wild ride. One theme park enthusiast summed the experience well by saying that “Instead of selling your picture … they should sell baby wipes and clean underwear at the exit”.
There are just so many great parallels between this ride and the Christian life. First- I found new ways to pray I had never even thought of before. Second- I was scared to death and my wife loved it- thereby humbling me and causing me to question my manhood. However, what really struck me is my level of dependence on that harness. Without the harness- I would’ve been dumped out of my chair, destined for a ghastly end on the pavement below. However, with the harness- I was completely safe. Of the hundreds of thousands of people who have taken the plunge before- no one has been seriously hurt. My instincts were telling me that I was in immense danger and fear was flooding my mind. And yet, because of the reality of the harness- my instincts and fear were wrong. I was completely safe and secure. I could relax- trust the ride designer and operator to get me back to the ground safely.
Do you see the parallels here? So often in life we are in situations where our minds and hearts are going haywire. It feels as though we are in immense danger and are so filled with fear that we can’t think straight. Like we are 300 feet up in the air, staring at the pavement below, and fearful for the fall. However, there is one thing- one truth- that can calm this fear in our hearts. One truth that we can cling to no matter what our circumstances may look like. This truth is that Jesus saves. Jesus saves from eternal peril all who call on His Name. He calls us His children. That is the primary identity of everyone who has put their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. And Jesus has proven Himself trustworthy by dying on the cross and resurrecting from the grave. So when we are in life and death situations, or more often- situations that feel like life and death- we can put our trust in the One who defeated death and calls us His children.
What a difference in life this perspective makes! It is a truth we really can’t get enough of. For every bad news we receive- for every fear we have inside- we must be reminded of the truth that we are God’s children.
We get a deeply comforting and encouraging reminder of this truth in Galatians 3:26-4:7. We will be looking at and celebrating this passage together this Sunday, 10:15am at Christ Community Church. We would love for you to join us.
Have a great weekend- God bless you- see you Sunday.
-Pastor Nathan Rice