Elizabeth and I were headed to Disney World when the truth hit me: I would have to ride Tower of Terror. Tower of Terror is her favorite ride, and I was her only travel companion. She fully intended to follow the rules like buckling her seat belt and remaining in her chair. Beyond that, she was ready to ride, no holds barred. And she would definitely have her hands up.
Not me. I don’t like speed. I don’t like heights, and I definitely don’t like thirteen story drops. I held on for dear life, gripping the bar in front of me as if it was my only hope of survival. When the ride was over, Elizabeth was grinning with delight, and I was sighing (silently) with relief.
Fast forward about five years. We were days away from the marriage of our son Tony to the girl of his dreams (and ours). I was reviewing my list of responsibilities, wondering if all the details would work out according to plan, when I heard a still small voice say, “Ride with your hands up.” I knew exactly what that meant.
When you ride a roller coaster you can grip the safety bar until your hands cramp, or you can raise your hands in the air and savor the moment. Either way, if you follow the rules and buckle up, you’ll be safe. Holding on doesn’t really keep you in your seat. Your harness does. It’s the designer of the ride, not the rider, that determines where the roller coaster is going to go. You’ll probably catch a little air along the way, but roller coasters are meant to toss you around a bit. Some people even enjoy that.
If you throw your arms up in the air on a roller coaster, you just might have more fun. Isn’t that true about life as well? Have you put your faith in God, and asked him to be the Lord of your life? Are you trying to live as he wants you to live? Then ride, baby, ride! Throw your hands up in the air in praise, trust and joy. You aren’t going to fly out of that roller coaster, and holding on until your knuckles hurt isn’t going to make you any safer. It’s just going to make you sore.
No, you won’t always know what’s coming. Sometimes you’re going to catch a little air and wonder when things will calm down again, but that’s okay. The One who designed your ride has it all in control, regardless of how it looks from the top of the biggest drop. So smile, trust, relax and ride with your hands up.