Life is like a roller coaster sometimes, isn’t it? You reach peaks throughout your journey and suddenly find yourself in the pits. I feel a little like Forest Gump this morning. I never have liked roller coasters. In fact, the idea of climbing those tracks to reach the top is more than just scary. There is the occasional bump along the way – the anticipation as to what’s on the other side – and then the excitement and fitfulness when you plunge back down to the bottom. There are the detours, the hiccups, the roadblocks and the downright tragedies that occur on that very roller coaster we call living. When we reach the end, we’re so glad that it’s over, anything looks better. We just want to get off.
It seems as though our lives have been subject to such ups and downs, twists and turns, joys and fears for the past few years. A worldwide pandemic turned joyful faces into masked marauders. Isolation turned extroverts into introverts. Anxiety and depression became the moods of the day. As we return to normal, we discovered that normal isn’t normal anymore. We don’t have a clue as to what’s normal.
Aging is like that too. With retirement we find a new way of living. If we’ve saved and prepared for it, we have many choices for adventure. If you’re living day to day on Social Security income alone, you soon find out that your working life isn’t over. To top it off, your body is falling apart. You aren’t capable of doing what you did at age 30. The roller coaster is now on a fast track to the end.
What does God have to say about this dilemma? Looking at Psalm 40, I found some encouragement in the entire Psalm, but particularly in verses 1-3.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he inclined to me and heard my cry.
2 He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
3 He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear,
and put their trust in the Lord.
We are bound to face challenges each day. Man’s self-destruction occurred in the Garden of Eden when our first parents ate from the forbidden tree – but take heart. Our God loves us so much that He sent His only begotten Son to pay the price for our sin. We’ll still have a rough ride from time to time, but there will be plenty of times to enjoy the ride.