Honestly, 2012 was a roller coaster. I was hoping that 2013 would be the year that I got to sit on a park bench and eat a funnel cake. Not so much.
January has me back on the ride doing loop-de-loops and screaming “Make it stop!” It all started last year when we decided to follow Jesus. I mean, we had been following Him. . . literally. We had moved from Texas to the Pacific Northwest in 2007 to help plant a church. He called us to leave everything we knew and everyone we loved; and we followed Him. And then He stretched us to unimaginable lengths where there was nothing of us left so that we would depend on Him. And so, that He would be glorified. And He used us in spite of our many imperfections (and if I’m being honest, our moaning and groaning and temper tantrums – okay, maybe the temper tantrum thing was just me) to start a church. And over sixty people were baptized, including our son, Sam.
How could I not continue to follow Him after all that I had seen Him do? Wouldn’t He be faithful again? Sometimes my present circumstances cause me to doubt His promises. The temporary, momentary loop-de-loops make me want to scream, “Make it stop!”
I just want to be comfortable. If I wasn’t following Jesus I think I could be really comfortable in life. I could live wherever I wanted. I could spend my time however I wanted. I could always get milkshakes with my burger and fries. I might buy my kids milkshakes too if they behaved.
If I were comfortable I would stay in one place near the people that I loved. I wouldn’t move thousands of miles or even an hour away. I would live near my family so my kids could spend time with their cousins and grandparents. I wouldn’t move my son away from his wonderful school and all of his friends that he loves. I wouldn’t sell my house after the market crashed and worry about finances. And I definitely wouldn’t move to someplace unfamiliar and meet new people. That is uncomfortable.
But Jesus never promised following Him would be comfortable. In fact, He said, “In this world you will have trouble.” You will ride roller coasters and do loop-de-loops. And then He says, “But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
Sometimes the ride gets rough and you just want to make it stop. But you know how after you make it through the loop-de-loops and the ever-so-slow, I-think-we’re-not-going-to-make-it up-up-ups and the wind-in-your-face, hands-up-screaming, ever-accelerating, make-it-stop downs; you want to do it all over again?
That’s how it is following Jesus. It’s not comfortable. It’s thrilling! Hands up. Enjoy the ride!