When I was a youngster, there was a place that was pure joy to visit – and, although I remember being there with the family, there came a time when we were dropped off and picked up later in the evening to enjoy as only kids can enjoy without parents.
What was that place? Astroworld!
It was across the freeway from the Astrodome – the home of the Houston Astros and the place where Astroturf found its first home. A safe place, as I remember it, for kids to be kids. I do not remember anybody getting into trouble. There were no cell phones to keep track of each other. Our method of communication was to say that we would meet at a certain place in the park by a certain time.
Regardless, you paid your admission price and every ride was free. Even though Astroworld was in our neck of the woods, Six Flags Over Texas was between Ft Worth and Dallas and was another favorite spot – although we did not go there as often.
My favorite rides had something to do with speed, high hills, precipitous drops, and high “G” turns. I do not remember all their names, but there was one that was called something like “Runaway Mine Train.” It was designed like an ore car used to transport miners and ore from one end of a mine to another. Never mind that we had no mines like this around us, but it was a pure delight to get into the car – hopefully in the front car. In this favorite spot, you would leave the station and begin to enter the mine. The very first thing you hear is “clackety, clackety, clackety” as the cars are pulled upwards to the top of the hill. You see, for the most part the thrill of the roller coaster is the unbridled speed that begins as that last “clackety” ends – Whoosh, you head down the hill and into the turns that bring screams and a joy of speed like you can never get on your bicycle.
These names sort of burn into my memory – Runaway Mine Train, XLR8, Space Mountain, Cannonball Run, and the list seems endless as I try to remember all the key words that give some the willies to just think about it.
Now. Take the theme park out of the picture, take the roller coaster car off the tracks, and instead put your life into its place.
Make your life represent the roller coaster and a great fear will wake you up in the middle of the night just sweating through the challenges that your life presents to you in the daytime.
Your life is a challenge and there seem to be times that everything is out of control. Forget that the tracks you are attached to give you a semblance of order, nor that the limits of the design that God has built into the story of your life gives you hope of successful completion, you can then realize you do not have to worry about coming off the tracks and flying through the air to certain destruction.
You see, it is Satan’s plan to make sure you focus on the tragedy and uncertainty of life and not look to the certainty of our destination. He wants your life to be thrown suddenly off the top of a hill that you have been climbing and hoping that the fall will cause you to flee your relationship with God!
But God knows you are better than the trials of life! His Word speaks to us, Romans 8:28 – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
Consider the man Job. Satan did. He saw a man that was seemingly perfect in God’s eyes.
• Job 1: 1-3 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
Oh what a marvelous life he must have lived.
Clackety, Clackety, Clackety – he grows his family and vast holdings. Life is good. Everything is growing and going good. 10 children, 11,000 animals, a large household.
Not only did he “own” a lot, but his character was not even called into question – he was PERFECT and UPRIGHT. He Feared God. He rejected evil. He made sacrifices to God in case his sons and daughters had sinned.
When Satan came before God, it was The Lord that asked Satan if he had taken note of His Servant, Job. The stage seemed to be set for failure; Satan is allowed to do ANYTHING to Job, except to take his life. Can you feel it? Life is about at the top of the tracks. The last Clackety sound is fading and the downward Whoosh is coming. Can you feel the gravity take hold of your life. Where you once were on that really nice upward climb, the bottom starts to drop out from under you.
Look at what happens to Job: The Sabeans, the Fire of God, the Chaldeans and a great wind destroys all he has – except for his wife and the four servants who come to report the tragedies. All in one day!
This is one of the worst tragedies recorded in scripture – it happens fast and without warning.
Job is a hero – he’s perfect, upright, rejects evil and he fears God. He has it all – many children, lots of livestock and a reputation that is not exceeded by anyone else within this book.
Bring this home to us and remember how we act when something goes wrong in our life!
Life is often like this roller coaster experience. We leave the station and begin to climb the hill of life. Regardless of how long this growth period is, compare your life to the stock market and realize that every day we face challenges. Some of which can cause us to spin in a seemingly death ordained spiral to low points and we have to Clackety, Clackety, Clackety, climb again to regain.
Remember Paul’s admonition, “…all things…” work together for Good. What you are going through may seem to be the worst trial ever, but God knows exactly what you are facing. He knows the twists, turns and drops that are coming fast. He also knows when the next Clackety sound will bring joy to your life.