Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, Prologue
“Where do you want to go?” Jesus asked Amalia one day as they headed out the door.
“The field – where it’s familiar and peaceful.” she answered. She loved that field, with its flowers and sparkling blue lake. She imagined walking slowly along with Him, enjoying the peace and companionship she had grown to expect when there.
But that’s not what she found on the other side of the door.
“Wait, that’s not our field.” She tried to stop Jesus, but He continued to walk, pulling her along with Him.
“Nope, I have a better idea.”
He joyfully led her towards a long canopy-like covering, such as you would find at fancy events or carnivals. Through the opening, she could see a hint of a variety of amusement park rides. An amusement park? With all its activity and noises and smells? This was not a peaceful place, where they could just enjoy being together. Maybe He had another idea in mind. Maybe He was going to show how the distractions of life could keep her too busy for quiet times with Him. However, that was not likely because of His attitude. He was happy, so this amusement park was not a bad place. Maybe it represented her life. Maybe the rides were the different activities she was involved in: kindness rocks, writing, spending time with her granddaughter, journaling, reading her Bible, attending small group and church. Each one was a ride of its own. And she could go from one to another as she wanted. Is that how God saw her life? As an amusement park?
“Yes.” Jesus nodded at her. “An amusement park is fun. Your life is supposed to be fun, too. But you make it so serious. I give you these things for your enjoyment, not to make you work hard. You get so caught up in the smallest details, and want everything you do to be perfect. Don’t worry so much about the imperfections. Nothing you do can be perfect as I am the only perfection in your life. Besides, no one else cares. Have fun. Relax. Choose to be with Me as you go from one ride to another. I want to ride them all with you. I want to laugh with you at the thrill of new discoveries and sudden solutions: not fear what might happen. I know how the unknown scares you. These rides are designed to help you learn to not only cope, but actually enjoy the unknown. Talk with me as you feel anxiety rising. I will reassure you until you get comfortable with the feeling of the thrill, and no longer worry.”
“Which ride are we going to do first?” she asked, looking around, and wondering about what He had just told her. Life was supposed to be fun? All of life?
“Let’s do the haunted house.”
“Really? There’s a haunted house here? In this place with You?”
“It’s not what you think. This ride is about life circumstances that pop up and scare you, demons that try to mess with your head, times of darkness where you can’t see where you’re going, and other things that make life uncomfortable for you.”
“I’m not so sure I want to go on this ride. Can’t we go on a different one? Like maybe the merry-go-round?”
“We could. But I think this one is the right one for this moment. Do you trust Me to know what’s best for you?”
“Yes, You’ve shown me that many times over the years.”
“So will you ride this one with Me?”
Amalia looked dubious. She didn’t like haunted houses. She didn’t like the unknown. She felt anxious just at the thought of what she might face in there. And yet, Jesus wanted her to do this. “Well, okay, if you really want me to.”
“And will you promise to ride all the way to the end with Me?”
“I don’t think I have much choice. Once I get in there, it’s not like we can just turn the car around. I guess I could get out of the car and walk back out, but that sounds worse than staying put in the car. Okay. if You promise to stay with me, then yes, I will ride to the end with You.”
Jesus smiled as He led her to the first car. As they sat down, He smiled. “Ready?”
She nodded, and realized she really was ready.