The Roller Coaster
Click…click…CLICK…CLICK…CLICK. Slowly our little train climbed to the top of a tall trestle. With each click my heart raced with anticipation of what would come next. We crested the rise and raced downhill before swinging into a vertical loop. For a moment at the top it felt like gravity didn’t exist anymore. My young eyes grew large as saucers. I loved it!
That first roller coaster ride was quite a thrill…mostly fun…mixed with a dash of fright. But I owe it all to my dad. Initially, I was a reluctant passenger. I only agreed to go because my dad constantly encouraged me to join him for the ride.
Life is a lot like a roller coaster. We grow anxious during long climbs up big hills. Sometimes we roll downhill faster than we’d like. There are sideways turns and dark tunnels. Occasionally we feel like we’re on top of the world. At other times everything seems to have turned upside-down.
Have you ever noticed how many amusement park rides seat two (or more) passengers? I think designers know the best part of any ride is the experience people share together.
In the beginning, God created a vast menagerie of amazing animals. But he didn’t stop there. He later created a man. Adam was very special. He was designed in God’s own image, and was made alive by God’s own breath.
In the Garden of Eden, Adam lived in a perfect environment filled with all kinds of living things. Despite this, God knew Adam’s heart was not full. In Genesis 2:18 God announced…
“It is not good for the man to be alone.” - Genesis 2:18a (NIV)
That principle is as true now as it was at the time of creation. It is not good for us to be alone.
It’s not fun, either. No one likes being the odd one out at an amusement park. On almost every ride they are a "party of one" in a seat designed for two.
There are a lot of reasons people are better together. I’d like to share three that are important to me.
Number one is balance. After God announced that man was no good by himself he said…
“I will make a helper suitable for him.” - Genesis 2:18b (NIV)
The term helper suitable comes from two Hebrew words, ezer neged. This phrase literally means the helper who is directly in front.
As kids we played a game called London Bridge. Two of us would stand facing each other, arms raised high and hands joined, to make a bridge. This game requires two people. You really can’t build a bridge by yourself!
The relationship between a man and woman is supposed to be like that. Woman was created to balance man. There is great beauty and strength in standing face to face, leaning on each other, working together.
Mutual correction is another reason. We make mistakes all the time, and we’ve all got some undesirable character traits. Occasionally even our best intentions hurt others.
When we share life, we tend to shape each other into something better. The book of Proverbs tells us…
As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.
- Proverbs 27:17 (NIV)
It’s important for us to allow trusted individuals to lovingly correct our attitudes and actions. The sharpening process can be tough. There will be heat and sparks will fly. But when we understand this process is normal…even necessary…we can be ready for the friction and learn to work with it.
Finally, we were designed to encourage each one other. Encouragement balances mutual correction. After correcting it’s important to build each other up. The apostle Paul wrote:
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:11 (NIV)
I’ve heard encouragement described as pouring courage into someone. My dad "poured courage" into me before I took that first roller coaster ride...and that's what we should do with others. It works wonders.
We humans were created go through life together. Who are you riding with on the roller coaster of life? Whoever they are, I encourage you to treasure them as you balance, mutually correct, and encourage each other!