UPS and Downs

Posted on: February 18th, 2018

Perhaps the most abused word to come out of the 60’s besides LOVE was the word PEACE. There was a gesture for it, a sign for it, and it replaced the term GOOD-BYE for millions of people.

Another 60’s phrase was “Stop the world, I want to get off!” Indeed, another 60’s phrase encouraged people to do just that: “Tune in, turn on, and dropout.” Has the attitude of escapism become non-existent today? There are millions of people who dread getting up in the morning, who don’t know if or how they are going to survive the day. I am not speaking of the clinically depressed, but of people who let life and its daily events get the upper hand and thus allow themselves to follow paths of quiet desperation.

One summer in the early 1930’s my mom’s family went to an amusement park in Canton, Ohio, called Myers Lake. Erected well before Cedar Point, King’s Island, and Six Flags, my mother and her six siblings looked so forward to the one day a year when her parents would cram them into their Stutz-Bearcat and traverse the 45 miles just in time to meet their Canton cousins at the entry gate at 10:00 opening time.

By the virtue of reaching her 10th birthday in January, Mom was adamant she was ready to tackle the biggest ride offered—the Roller Coaster. She had already mastered the Octopus, the Tilt-a-Whirl, and Laugh in the Dark. “Are you sure, Mavourneen?” inquired my grandfather. But his headstrong fourth born had her mind made up.

After the first hill and subsequent dip, mom turned to grandpa: “If you don’t stop this thing now, I’ll drop my left shoe over the side!” He told her, “Honey, they won’t stop the ride if you kick both your shoes overboard! Now, hang on!”

Like Mavourneen, we are on the ride for the duration of our lives. As Christians, there is no “getting off” or “dropping out”. We have all had days when everything “goes wrong”. But we have the Bible and prayer for our aids as well as our Christian brothers and sisters. Think of the lyric, “blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!” A rapturous foretaste, indeed.

And there is no invisible scale somewhere that decides you have had enough of a good time to put some nastiness in your life to balance out the yin and the yang. The Bible doesn’t hold a windfall or disaster in your future to keep your scales balanced. The Bible tells us the rain falls on the good and bad alike (Matt. 5:45).

Where is the sense in looking for reasons behind what happens in life? That way madness lies. When poor Aunt Martha tripped and fell over the edge of the Grand Canyon. aliens didn’t have invisible wires installed to harvest humans. Life is life in all its variegated manifestations. Please remember God is in charge. We can’t pray: “Thy will be done” if we don’t mean it. When Jesus gave the model prayer it wasn’t, ” . . . thy will be done as long as it doesn’t conflict with my desires.”

How terrible that people choose palm readers and astrology, looking to understand what to avoid in their lives or to plan a daily game plan of survival. For Christians, when we are troubled about ourselves, our family, our nation, our species, we can allow the balm of these words to steal over our souls:

“Peace I leave you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. (Jn. 14:27)

We are all on the roller-coast of life. God provides backbones of steel through Jesus Christ, His son. Take advantage of His bounty.
Larry Purkey