Stuck on a Roller Coaster…But Not Moving

Have you ever been stuck dangling from the top of a roller coaster?

Our family recently vacationed at a theme park and, being a roller coaster aficionado, I couldn’t wait to ride the new coaster. It promised to be a dizzying, speeding bullet with large twists, loops and a stomach clenching drop.

As we rounded the corner to get in line, I stopped short with surprise. There at the top of the roller coaster’s 162 foot peak, one of the cars was stopped cold.

roller coaster

A group of engineers scurried around the car, tugging and pulling but to no avail. People around me stopped to point and gasp in surprise. After a few moments, it became clear…that car wasn’t moving. So what were the passengers instructed to do? Yep, climb down the scaffolding of the massive structure.

Can you imagine the panic? The raw fear? Keep in mind, this was no kiddie coaster. From where their car stalled, it was a 16 story drop! And many of them were barefooted, since the ride forbids flip-flops and loose footwear that can risk flying off.

I wondered if those passengers thought, Why me? Why am I the one dangling hundreds of feet in the air while others got to ride this thing all day without a hitch? It was an unexpected shock, I’m sure. And don’t you know those passengers kissed the ground when they reached bottom? All I could think was “Thank You, Lord, that it isn’t me up there!”

We’ve all heard the analogy that life is like a roller coaster: full of twists and turns, surprises and adventures. And just like a coaster, those twists are often somewhat expected.

But what about those moments when life seems to grind to a halt with shocking force? The cancer diagnosis you never expected, divorce, illness, death of a loved one or losing your job? You feel like the ride suddenly spins out of control, leaving you breathless and dangling over certain doom.

Maybe you think, Why me? Maybe fear has left you paralyzed, unable to move an inch. And then you hear an engineer say, “Uh, you’ve got one option…climb down, one step at a time.”

You know what? Not one of those passengers fell. The unexpected disaster made them face a fear that very few have faced. Though uncomfortable, it made them strong. And they ended up clinging to the very structure that had them so terrified to begin with. And now they have a story to tell! A story they will never, ever forget. They did what they had to do…and survived.

If you are currently dangling over a terrifying drop, a frightening situation, take a deep breath, cling tight and trust the Engineer. Move forward, one step at a time.

And don’t forget to kiss the ground when you’ve conquered and survived. Better yet, kiss the feet of the Savior who led You through it.


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