Keep Your Hands and Feet inside the Ride at all Times

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I almost died last week. You might think that is an exaggeration but that’s only because you did not see the ring of death that I rode at the local Strawberry Festival. I don’t know if rides have gotten scarier or if I’ve just gotten older (okay, fine, I do know!), but there is no reason for an almost forty-year-old woman to be dangling upside down for a sweet forever.

My brother has always had this theory that you shouldn’t ride anything that can be put up and taken down in less than twenty-four hours. I used to think that was just fear speaking but, perhaps, it was wisdom at an early age. After all, as I was standing in line for the tilt-a-whirl, I did see the two workers have a pow wow in the corner. Then, one reached behind a curtain and pulled out a small bag of parts and proceeded to crawl under the ride. Were these the parts they had forgotten to put on? The “spares”, perhaps? Were they replacements for the parts that come off on the regular?

What would make a normally rational woman ride the ring of death fire? In my case, it was a little boy who rides the bus to our church on Wednesday nights. He came up to me as I was working a booth and begged me to ride this particular ride with him. He continued to check on me every thirty minutes to make sure I had not forgotten. So, at 6:00, I walked to my doom and rode the ride.

For the rest of the weekend, every time he saw me, he smiled and gave me a thumbs up. He would yell over the noise of the rides and crowd, “You did it!” He’s right; I did it. But, I’ll tell you, it was frightening and uncomfortable.

God often calls us to frightening and uncomfortable scenarios. If you commit yourself to following Him, you may just find yourself hanging upside down trying not to embarrass yourself by begging the workers to stop the ride when all you wanted was a funnel cake.

The Strawberry Festival draws you in with the cotton candy and bright lights. You’ve already bought the armband and gotten on the ride before you realize the cost. Christ, on the other hand, is quite upfront.

Pick up your cross.

The world will hate you like it hated me.

Everyone who wants to live a godly life will be persecuted.

You can never say that you weren’t warned. But, one day, when it’s all said and done, we will lay eyes on Jesus Himself. On that day, over the noise of the angels singing and trumpets blasting, He will yell, “You did it!” And you can know that, yes, it was often frightening and uncomfortable, but you did it.

Just hold on tight and enjoy the ride.

 

 

A Silent S.O.S.

On Saturday, a little girl from Florida was kidnapped. As a mama of a little girl the same exact age, size and general appearance, it left a knot in my stomach. I watched the updates and received the Amber Alert that she had been spotted in Tennessee. I watch the three-minute surveillance video taken at a McDonald’s and, I’ll be honest, it was hard to watch.

As the little girl and her abductor stood at the counter, numerous people walked up beside them. Folks ordered cheeseburgers and probably complained that the pickles weren’t removed while standing inches from a child who desperately needed to be rescued. I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone viewed that video and saw themselves standing so incredibly close to that poor child but completely unaware.

Thankfully, that little girl was rescued; sadly, many are not.

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It made me think of the people I walk by on a daily basis. How often am I within inches of someone – in my neighborhood, workplace, grocery store, family gathering – who desperately needs to be rescued? As I go about my life, doing mundane tasks and complaining about inane things, are the people around me hurting and pleading for someone to notice?

At one point in that surveillance video, a woman walked behind the little girl and I wanted to scream, “She’s right there!” How often, as we go through our day, does God want to scream at us, “She’s right there!” He puts us right where He wants us and we don’t even notice that one of His children are in danger.

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In my neighborhood, there is one woman that crosses my path multiple times a week. We nod, smile and exchange benign greetings, but something in my spirit tells me that I’m supposed to go deeper. I could ignore the nudging or produce a dozen excuses as to why I should just let well enough alone.

I’m such an introvert.

What would I say?

She doesn’t look like me.

What if she thinks I’m a weirdo?

But then it always comes back to the one question I can’t ignore.

What if she needs to be rescued?

So, I see her walking down our street and I try to casually stand by the road. I turn to her as she passes and I introduce myself. She laughs and nods, “I know. You’re the pastor’s wife,” and we both giggle. She calls me ma’am more than once and I pretend she’s just being polite and it’s not because I’m probably fifteen years older than her.

It’s a very short conversation and she’s on her way. But now, when she walks by my house, I wave and call her by name. She smiles and waves back. She knows that she is seen by me and it’s the foundation for something more.

Look around you. Be aware. You never know who is in need of rescue.

You are loved. ❤