Learn to Enjoy the Rollercoaster
I’ve been taking a free course on the Old Testament book of Exodus through Dallas Theological Seminary. During this week’s lesson, Dr. Allman said, “God takes us into things where we look like we’re in danger, but we are in perfect safety. Learn to enjoy the rollercoaster.”
We had just reviewed how the Israelites’ expectations of God were negative even when their experiences with him had been positive. God had just saved their oldest son during Passover and their entire population from the Pharaoh, guiding them with a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day. Then, when they saw the Pharaoh’s army approaching, they responded with “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?” You’d think that they would have learned what God could do, but no. They grumbled.
We all know that God parted the Red Sea, bringing them safely across. They sang a song of praise, and then three verses later they came to a place where the water was bitter. What did they do? They grumbled again, and God provided them with 12 springs and 70 palm trees. Next, they encountered a time of no food. Again, they responded with, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt!” But God provided them with manna.
This pattern continued. Every time it looked like they were in trouble, God provided for them. Why, then, did they not learn? I don’t think that we can be that hard on the Israelites. We do the same thing in our own lives. When everything is going well, we praise God and are all happy, but as soon as some hardship enters our life, we start to grumble. Dr. Allman reminded us that God “takes us into hardships not so we can be miserable, but so that we can be excited.” Excited? Why would the professor say this? Because God reveals to us His character through these situations, and the more we get to know Him, the more we can trust Him. We can face hardships with the mindset that God is working mightily on our behalf, so we can then be excited to see what He is going to do. We can look back at all the testimonies in the Bible where God demonstrated His character to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Noah, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, Caleb, Samuel, Deborah, David, Jonathan…You can put your name in here, too.
Dr. Allman closed with these thoughts: “God knows your pain, but He also knows His purpose for you – a purpose so great and so good, that when you get through the pain and see the greatness of the work of God on the other side of it, you’ll look back on the pain, and in some sense, you’ll go back and kiss it, because it brought you to the most blessed experience you’ve ever had of knowing the goodness of God in your life.”
Life is like a rollercoaster. It has its ups and downs, but we can learn to trust God in all circumstances. We can “learn to enjoy the rollercoaster.”
Because of His Faithfulness,
Dr. Sharon C. Brobst, Director