Amusement Park: Haunted House Ride, Seventh Room – Bumps
Amalia was pleasantly surprised to find herself in another beautiful room. The murals that were painted on the walls, ceiling, and floor were so realistic that she felt as if they were on a gently winding country road lined on both sides by trees, lush green fields full of colorful flowers, and, in the distance, glistening blue lakes. She could even hear the sounds of birds calling to each other, feel a breeze on her face, and, every now and then, she could hear the babbling of streams flowing over rocks. Amazing what technology could do. This room was more in line with what she expected a haunted house ride should be. Everything was explainable. She sighed. This is how a ride with Jesus should be.
Grateful for the chance to rest after the strenuous climb of the previous room, Amalia settled back in her seat. She closed her eyes, and let the vibration of the car running smoothly on the track lull her into a dream state. She heard Jesus’ voice a few times, but it seemed to be coming from so far away that she easily dismissed it in favor of her delicious drowsiness.
The car gave a sudden lurch as if it had clattered across something in its path. Amalia opened one eye, but, not seeing anything to worry about, closed it again. Whatever the bump was, it wasn’t something to be concerned about. But then they went over another bump, and another. Each time the bump seem to be larger until Amalia was disturbed enough to open her eyes and sit up.
“Jesus, what’s going on?”
“Just some bumps.”
Amalia frowned. “Those bumps are messing up our ride.”
“Yes, they’re very uncomfortable. Can You make it stop?”
“What? The ride?”
Amalia stared at Him. “Jesus, You know what I mean. Make the bumps stop.”
“Why would I do that?”
“So they aren’t bothering us.”
“They aren’t bothering Me.”
“Fine. So that they’re aren’t bothering ME. Every time I start to fall asleep, we hit another bump, and I’m wide awake again.”
“Is that a problem?”
“Of course that’s a problem! I’m tired after the last room, and it felt good to close my eyes and let my mind drift. I can’t do that if we keep running into uncomfortable bumps. Will You do something?”
She watched, but nothing changed. The bumps were still there, and Jesus didn’t seem to do anything as they collided with yet another one. She turned back to Him. “If You’re not going to do anything, I will. I’ll go move those bumps myself.”
“You can if you really want to, but then you won’t be riding with Me.”
Amalia looked down at the bumpy track, then back at Jesus. She didn’t want to leave Him, but she also didn’t want to deal with a bumpy ride. “Why can’t You get rid of them?”
“I could if I wanted to, but it’s not necessary.”
“Amalia, you have a choice. You could walk on your own, handling the bumps yourself, or stay with Me. The bumps are part of staying with Me.”
“But, riding with You should be easy and smooth. Why do we have to deal with these bothersome bumps?”
“Why do you think riding with Me is supposed to be smooth? I never told you that.”
“But, You’re God. You can easily make the way smooth. And You.. You…” Amalia thought hard. “You promised to always take care of me. Isn’t making my way smooth part of taking care of me? Besides, You love me. Don’t You want me to be happy?”
“Full of joy, yes. But happiness? That’s so conditional on circumstances. So no, some things are more important than your happiness.”
“What in the world are You talking about?”
“Exactly. You are in the world, and bumps – or problems – are part of that world. They are going to happen. I could remove them, but instead, I use them for your good. And sometimes I even put them there to slow you down, or to get your attention. What were you doing before we started hitting the bumps?”
“Um… I think I was falling asleep.”
“Were you thinking of Me? Talking to Me? Listening for My voice?”
“No, not really.”
“And what did you do as soon as you couldn’t ignore the bumps anymore?”
“I sat up, and asked You about them.”
“Right. You started interacting with Me again. So the bumps served to get your attention back on Me. Don’t get frustrated. Know that they are there for a reason.”
Amalia thought about that for a while. Then another thought came to her. “What if someone else put a bump there to hurt me?”
“It doesn’t matter. Whether I put the bumps there or someone else, I use them all for your good. You may not always understand their purposes, but you can trust Me and My love for you. I only want good for you even if it doesn’t always look that way to you. As you learn to accept the bumps, you will grow in patience and endurance. And you will learn to be full of joy no matter the circumstances. And that’s more precious to Me at this time than your comfort. So… you have a choice: you can handle them on your own, or trust Me to know what’s best for you.”
Put that way, Amalia resigned herself to a bumpy road. If Jesus wasn’t concerned the constant irritation of the bumps, she would try to accept it, too. This part of the ride wasn’t going to last forever. She wasn’t so sure of the joy part, but she could grit her teeth and be patient until they got to the next door.
They continue through that room, hitting bump after bump. Some Amalia could see coming, others took her by surprise. Eventually she began to learn to look to her Friend, trusting His wisdom each time they hit one, and, even more so, to enjoy the times between the bumps. She still didn’t like the bumps, but she didn’t let them destroy her enjoyment of the beauty of this room nor steal her joy of riding with Jesus.
And about the time she realized how much she had accepted the ride as it was and not as she wanted, they arrived at the next door.
She was at first blinded by the light that exploded around her as the door opened, and then realized it came from the sun. The real sun. And a fresh breeze caressing her skin. A real breeze, complete with the scents of heavy machinery, popcorn, and grilled burgers. They were outside!
When the car came to a stop, Jesus stood up, pulling Amalia up with Him. “So, what did you think?” He asked her as they climbed out.
“It was nothing like I thought it was going to be, but it was also way better than I thought it could be. You’re just full of surprises, aren’t You?”
“Always.” He smiled. “Ready for another ride?”
James 1:2-4 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
Romans 8:28 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for hose who are called according to his purpose.
Philippians 4:11-13 Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am to be content. I how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and very circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
Psalm 16:11 You will show me the path of life; in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.