The Word — Time to enjoy a roller coaster ride

Published 1:51 pm Saturday, September 3, 2022

I enjoy a GREAT roller coaster ride! What makes one roller coaster better than another? It seems like the most popular rides are the ones with the biggest hills and steepest drops. The rides with the most gut wrenching twists, turns and flips. I always liked the old wooden roller coasters that creaked and groaned and clattered. Nobody wants a smooth, steady ride. We want something that will get our heart rate up and our adrenaline pumping.

In the same way your life is richer and fuller when it includes incredible highs and really difficult lows. Often we find ourselves praying for a smooth and steady day. But when we get one we fall asleep and it becomes one of many days that we will never recall the rest of our lives. But you remember the highs and the lows and you share those stories for years. I’ll never forget the day my wife agreed to marry me, the birth of our children or the terrible accident our daughter was in. Those highs and lows shaped my life. They add a zest and flavor that make it rich and meaningful.

That’s the apostle Peter’s point in 1 Peter 1:3-7. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith – more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire – may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Peter celebrates the highs like being born again through Jesus’ resurrection. Knowing that heaven is already ours because God caused us to be born again and God is guarding us in the faith until we finish the roller coaster ride. But Peter also celebrates the lows like being grieved by various trials and tribulations because in the midst of these our faith is strengthened as we cling to Jesus even tighter and he faithfully brings us through the roller coaster ride. The highs and the lows all have a purpose – that our faith may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.

So as summer winds down I encourage you to enjoy the roller coaster ride knowing that you have an inheritance being kept in heaven for you. You don’t have to understand every bump and twist. Just cling to Jesus and know that it ends well.

Rev. Matthew Sorenson is the pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church. He can be reached at pastor@stjohnsfarmville.org.