A Wild Ride.

March 13, 2013

A few weeks ago, my family and I went to Disney World. My kids were so excited, and my husband, maybe even more excited. When we got to the park and were discussing what rides the kids could or should go on, Kyle suggested one of the roller coasters.

Me: What? THAT roller coaster? Absolutely not. Are they even old enough?!?

Kyle: Yes, it’ll be fine. They’ll love it! I’m sure they’re big enough!

After checking the kids' height and realizing they both just squeaked past the allotted requirements, I was still resistant. Upset. Finally (in my very mature way of handling the situation), I told Kyle that he could take ONE child first. I refused to go with, sure they would freak out the moment the ride began. I told Kyle I did not want to see my children terror-filled and screaming on or right after the ride. It would be all on him when they hated it.

He decided to take Jasmine first, since she's a year older than Abe.

They walked away toward the coaster, his hand holding hers, and all I could do was pray: Lord, protect my little girl. Give her peace.

I waited outside the ride for the next half hour. Sure I would be comforting my crying daughter when it was all over. Already preparing in my mind the stern words I would have for Kyle…something along the lines of “I told you so.”

And just as I had conjured up what I would say, I saw them through a crowd of people. Kyle holding Jasmine. But she wasn’t crying, she was smiling. Laughing, in fact. He put her down and she ran to me. 

“Mom, that was so fun! Can I do it again, please?!?”

“Sure,” I say. “I guess.” Confused. “You really weren’t scared?”

“No, it was so fun! Dad, can we go again?”

And they go again, this time with Abe and myself close behind. Having a blast. And I’m shaking my head, still wondering how this could be.

Until last week: My friends and I are sitting in my living room. The lights are dim, the kids in bed, and a comforting drink in our hands when my friend says:

“I just don’t understand. I don’t have answers to all these questions. Why does God allow these things? Why is my heart still broken?”

And I know what she means. I’ve been there. Sometimes there seems to be no answers to life’s hardest questions: Why so much pain? Hurt? And despair? Does God even care?

And I quietly respond. It seems to me that apart from the questions of why God does or doesn’t allow things, or handles situations or people in ways we think are good or bad, there is a bigger question that first needs to be resolved: Do I know what I believe about God’s character? Do I believe him to be a good, loving God or not? 

My friend begins to cry. 

She knows. Until we settle what we believe is true about God’s character, we will always question his motives.

And as I have thought this past week about my conversation with my friend, continued to pray for her, I am reminded of our trip to Disney. I’m reminded of Jasmine’s response to that wild ride and my initial bewilderment at her response.

You see, what I had not factored in and what I did not have in mind at the time was that my daughter would not be on that scary ride alone. We would have never put her in the seat, pulled the lap belt down and said, “See you at the end, honey!” She would have been terrified, panicked, clinging to anything she could. And rightfully so.
But my daughter was not on that ride alone. She had her daddy there with her. And when he sat by her in the seat and wrapped his arm around her, tucking her in tight, she knew that she was safe. She believes her daddy loves her, that he will protect her. And when he whispered, “It’s going to be okay; this is actually a fun ride, I’ve got you.” She believed him. She knows his character. She trusts his motives.

Sometimes life is scary. Sometimes the ups and downs feel like such a wild ride and I don’t have answers to everything I’m asking. I don’t understand all the reasons why. And that is when I lean into my heavenly Father, tucked safely in his arms, knowing that he loves me, trusting his motives. Believing in his goodness.

But it's not just that Jasmine made it through the ride, fingers gripping the seat, eyes shut tight...she actually enjoyed it. Kyle said she threw her arms up in the air and squealed with delight, all while being held tight by her daddy who loved her.

So often I learn from my children. And this story is no different. Sometimes I think God would say to me: Sit back, enjoy the ride! Throw your arms up, I've got you!

The picture Kyle texted me of Jazz while on their wild ride.
Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake?  If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!
Matthew 7:9-11

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