My brother stood behind me, both of us pleading with the guy to let me on. We had not had the privilege of going to many amusement parks when I was a child. We didn’t want to miss anything. So once again, I backed up to the figure to measure once again. Though I was probably an inch too short, he allowed me to ride anyway. We were ecstatic and rushed into the car giddy with excitement. I wanted so much to impress my big brother, always my hero. And off we went. As we rose through the stratosphere, my temerity quickly turned to terror. The first of the screams began as we paused at the top of the first hill. Throughout the rest of the ride, I cried, pleaded, begged, screamed some more and in general lost all control of my senses and sanity. From that day forward, I would not go near any roller coasters, and no one wanted me to.
Fast forward to basic training, almost twenty years later. I had only been on one other coaster, and that was to impress a girl. It was a disaster also. This day was different. As a break from the trials of basic, we were awarded a one day pass to Six Flags over Georgia. I was a man now and, where I was headed, greater fears were going to raise their heads. I needed to face down the coaster and put my childhood behind me.
But how? I was still terrified.
As I stood in line, I thought back to my childhood and the birth of this terror. Over and over, all I wanted was to make everything stop. Don’t move another inch. Don’t go up that hill or around that curve. STOP! The way I would conquer it then would be to look at every obstacle, every “monster” that came at me and wish for more.
The first hill was ascended and I did not shut my eyes. I looked around at the beauty beneath me. We slowed and I braced for the rush, the free fall. But instead of pulling back, I leaned into it. Instead of wishing it would stop, I wanted it to go faster. For the minutes I was on that ride, nothing could stop me, nothing could slow me down. It was amazing.
Do I hold back from You, Lord? Am I telling You to stop the ride? I am afraid sometimes but I know I’m safe in You. I can’t see the end and I don’t know what’s around the bend but I don’t want to live half a life. You gave all for me. How can I not give all to You?
Let’s go faster!