Do you like riding on the merry-go-round at the fair? It is definitely eye-catching, isn’t it? It looks like a safe ride.
Well, when I was somewhere between 8 and 10 years old, I had an experience on a merry-go-round that altered my view of this staple, fair ride. I rode the merry-go-round as I am sure, I had done before, but this time the rotation of the ride coupled with the up-and-down motion of the painted horse I was seated on caused me to become extremely dizzy. I wanted off! The merry-go-round made me sick. It made me feel off-balanced and disconcerted in the worse way. So much so that I swore off all fair rides, for whatever that means for a child. I mean, I rode other rides sporadically after that when I got my nerve up, but never again the merry-go-round.
There are days when life seems like a merry-go-round. When the same things keep happening over and over again. Especially, the bad things that get the most attention. These bad things are the output of sin. So, it goes that the sinfulness that is present in this world makes life seem like a merry-go-round. Well, this may sound like a stretch, but think for a moment about the impact of sin, yours, mine, and others, on this world and in our lives, and in the lives of those we love. It seems that the same sins are on a perpetual cycle or rotation, if you will. This rebellious rotation causes us to experience many ups and downs. (I know you can see me reaching a bit.) Please allow me to continue.
Sin is the violation or transgression of God’s law. It is doing the opposite of what God has said. Sin is rebelling against God. It is falling short of God’s glory. Sin is disobedience. And sin is more than just making a mistake. Someone could mistakenly leave something behind or lose something. Sin is doing what we know is wrong.
Well, what happens when that’s literally what everybody who has ever lived did, whoever is living does, and whoever will live will do. Chaos. Sin causes pain, indirectly or directly. We typically are bothered by other people’s sin, especially if it is a sin that we are not subject to, one that we would never do. We say, “I can’t believe he did that?” Or, we say, “Shame on them.” We say a lot about other people’s transgressions. Whereas, for our own sins, we may be a little slow to acknowledge and address them.
But in the aftermath of misdeeds, sin yields disillusionment, frustration, hurt, anger, and so on and on and on. When that is compounded by the happenings (crimes, conflicts, injustice, wars, and other man-made calamities and catastrophes) we see and hear about in the news, it impacts our stability, making us feel unsettled or off balance. On my own or within myself, I say I want off this perpetual merry-go-round of mayhem. But getting off is not plunging into deep despair. No, we have hope. God Himself has given us hope. The hope we have is in Jesus Christ. And this is hope that we can spread around as the salt and light of the earth.
So, the way I get off the merry-go-round is by looking to the hills … by praying in faith … by seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness first … by hiding God’s Word in my heart … by acknowledging the gospel message that Jesus is my savior … by trusting God with all my heart and leaning not on my own understanding … by remembering that God demonstrated His love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for our sin … the greatest hope is that Jesus Christ is coming back to get us.
Although life can be hard, when we can look up (Psalm 121) and experience the glory of God in the midst, keeping us, protecting us, healing us, redeeming us, restoring us, forgiving us, helping us to forgive others, blessing us, delivering us, and blessing us some more.
With this in mind, I hold on or rather the Holy Spirit holds on to me, knowing that God has the best plans for me and for us, plans to prosper us and not to harm us, plans to give us hope and a future (Jeremiah 29:11-13). That’s the ride I choose to be on even though I don’t have an analogous name for it. And this ride is secure, because day by day and moment by moment God never lets me/us go (Romans 8:31-39). And even when the ride gets bumpy or unpredictable turns occur, He miraculously levels out the ride working everything for the good of those who love Him, who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).