Recently, our family went to Coney Island, which is a small, historical, child-friendly theme park in Cincinnati. Our children love to go there and so it is a tradition that we go every summer. At $12 each to get in and ride all day, we can actually afford a theme park with our 6 fun-loving children! This year, we really enjoyed it because it was the first time that I got on some rides and rode with them. It took more visible effort to get me on and off than I am comfortable with everyone seeing, but it was worth it to my children and hubby so I was glad to do it.
There was one particular ride that I rode with the girls called the Flying Bobs. It was VERY hard to get in and out of, but was so much fun! I knew my boys would love it and so I encouraged them to ride it. They did not want to. I am not into making my children do things just because I like it, but I just KNEW they would love this ride. As I continued to talk to them and describe it and ask them to trust me on this, they still did not want to. I made the decision to make them. Not because I enjoyed making them mad at me, but because I knew these two boys. I knew they would absolutely love this ride if they would just give it a chance. It was not a large scary roller coaster. It was just a little fair ride and I knew they would love it. I made them ride it but to say they were happy with me would be the understatement of the year! They were scared, they were mad, and they were not sure that their mother was still in her right mind.
I wish you could have seen the expressions on their faces when they got off that ride! They ran – not walked – to me and were laughing! They hugged me and thanked me for making them ride it and wanted to go ride again – which they did! I was so happy and relieved! I did not want them to be angry at me. I wanted them to trust my judgment. When their hearts of gratitude overflowed towards me, I was very thankful for the sweet hearts of my boys. They could have pretended to not like it and still be mad at me, but they didn’t. They could have been stubborn and proud and resistant to me the rest of the day, but they weren’t. They understood that because I knew them, and loved them and wanted them to be happy, that I pushed them out of their comfort zone and made them go through something they did not think they wanted to do. And they in turn, were wise enough to see what I had accomplished for them. They found a new love and it was called a Flying Bob.
I think you probably already know where I am going with this story. As I have reflected on this myself, I cannot help but think of the analogy of my own life. God put me on a ride called paralysis 3 years ago. I was scared, I questioned His fairness, and I did not want to go! I had always trusted Him with my life but this time I thought maybe, just maybe, He wasn’t as tuned in with my needs as I thought He was. However, looking back, it is so much clearer. Although the ride continues, I am no longer scared. I no longer question His fairness. I realize that He knew exactly what I needed in my life. I have not only learned to trust Him again, I have learned to trust Him more!
God does not call us out of our comfort zones just to pick on us or scare us. He has a much greater purpose in mind. I don’t think for one minute that God thought I would enjoy paralysis, but I do think He knew that what I would gain out of it would make me thankful for it. No, I don’t enjoy suffering but I am so thankful for what I have found and the person God has molded me into. I am thankful for the doors that have been opened because of it. I am thankful for the areas of ministry that has come because of it. I am thankful that my perspective on life is much more internal now and not so external. I am thankful for the many lessons God has taught me through pain and suffering. I am thankful for the intimacy that has been found in my relationship with Christ that I suppose I didn’t find necessary before.
Because these legs don’t work, I have learned to run to my Savior. As I approach Him, I no longer say “I don’t want to.” I say, “Thank You!! Thank You for loving me enough to push me out of my comfort zone and into a life that is much more joyous and abundant than I ever realized could be possible.” I think about going back to who I was before this “ride” in my life. Would I rewind time and want it all back? “No thanks, I don’t want to.”