Amusement Park: Ferris Wheel
“Are You sure we’re safe?” Amalia sat still, eyes staring straight ahead, not daring to move a muscle, fearing even the smallest twitch would cause the pod they were sitting in to rock dangerously.
“Perfectly safe. You’re with Me, remember?”
“Yeah, but I don’t like heights.”
“You did when you were on the mountain. Remember the view from the top?”
“That was different. I was standing on solid ground, not sitting in a rising pod that could flip over at any moment.”
“It won’t, but let’s say it did. You’d still be fine. Even upside down, with that seat belt, you’re not going down.”
Amalia wasn’t convinced. “What if the seat belt isn’t enough?”
“Is that why you’re holding on so tightly to this handle bar?.” He touched her fist, white from its death grip on the bar. “You don’t have to hold on to it at all.”
“Easy for You to say. If we flipped over, You’d probably stay right there on the seat while I plummet to my death. Gravity has no hold on You.”
“Amalia… Amy, my love… I thought You trusted Me. What did I tell you when we sat down in this pod?”
“You said this seat belt would keep me safe.”
“And do you believe Me?”
“Then why are you still holding on to the handle bar?”
Amalia didn’t know what to say. Jesus never lied, and if He said the seat belt was enough, then it must be. But shouldn’t she also do her part to keep herself safe, like keeping perfectly still and holding on to the stronger-looking bars she could see right in front of her? She knew the belt was fastened across her lap, she had seen and felt it as Jesus buckled her in when they first sat down, but now, with her gaze frozen straight ahead, she could no longer see it. How could she trust something she couldn’t see? What if it wasn’t fastened securely anymore?
“Amalia, where is your trust right now?” Jesus asked as they came to a stop at the top of the Ferris wheel.
“It’s on You,” she answered quickly.
“Is it really?”
“Then let go.”
“You don’t mean that! What’s wrong with me holding on?”
“It shows where your trust really is.”
“But I trust You. I wouldn’t even be here without You. Holding the bars just make me feel better. Like I have some control.”
“That’s just it. You have no control. There is nothing you can do, or not do, that would save you if this pod tipped over. Only the belt I placed on you can do that.”
“Well, if the bar can’t keep me from falling, then why is it there?”
“It forms a sort of boundary. It’s not meant to keep you from falling, but to keep your ride more enjoyable. As long as you stay behind it, there’s little chance of the pod tipping over. But if you go beyond it, there’s a good chance the pod will begin to move in ways you don’t like, and, if it tips drastically, you may experience loss. Not loss of your life, because the belt is still on, but loss of loose things which may fall, such as a hat, sunglasses, or things in your pocket or purse.”
“Look around, Amalia. There is nothing as invigorating as riding a Ferris wheel with Me. There’s so much you can see from here. It’s almost like you can see into forever.”
Amalia loosened her grip on the bars, but didn’t let go. She slowly turned her eyes from side to side. Jesus was right. The sight was amazing! The amusement park laid out in front of her, leading to streets and highways filled with people journeying towards their destinations, and even further, the greens and browns of fields and forests. And the endless sky! It was like she was part of it, and yes, it felt like looking into forever.
But could she let go of the handle bars? Could she put all her trust in the seat belt Jesus had fastened on her? Could she let go of her fear, and trust what He had told her?
As the pod slowly descended, she found herself relaxing. Yes, maybe she could let go. Jesus had always been trustworthy. The belt was there. She was safe. And the closer she got to the ground, the safer she felt. She was just about to let go when the pod began rising again. Fear filled her one more, and her fists tightened on their own accord as the ground receded. She knew in her head that she was still safe regardless of what she saw around her, but her heart was not agreeing. Doubts flooded her. What if she had heard Jesus wrong? What if she had misunderstood His words? What if being safe from falling required both the belt and the handle bars? Wasn’t she responsible for doing what she could, too?
“Jesus, help me,” she whispered. “I want to enjoy this ride. I want to trust what You say. But I’m still afraid.”
“Amalia,” came back the gentle voice. “You have to choose. Where will you put your trust? Will you put it in what you do? Or will you put it in what I have done?”
Put that way, Amalia knew what her decision would be. Yet it didn’t come easy for her. Her grip on the handle bars tightened and loosened in time with the rising and lowering of the pod as they continued revolving in the giant vertical circle. Eventually, though, she got tired of the struggle, and knew the time had come. She had to choose. More than that, she had to act on her choice.
“Okay, Jesus. I choose what You did, not what I do.” She took a deep breath, and then quickly, before she could change her mind, took her hands off the bar. Immediately she grabbed Jesus’ hands with both of hers. “Hold me, Lord. I’m completely depending on You.”
“I’m always holding you, my sweet Amalia.” Jesus’ delighted voice washed over her, filling her heart with peace. “Now we can enjoy this ride together.”
As the Ferris wheel continued to turn, Amalia found herself doing just that. Talking about what they saw, snuggling up against each other, and laughing at each other’s jokes, they became totally engrossed in the ride. From time to time, Amalia forgot about – or chose to go beyond – the boundary, and leaned out over the bar to see something that caught her attention, causing the pod to tip. But each time, she apologized to Jesus for rocking their pod, and it would return to the gentle upright swaying that she had grown to love.
Way too soon, the ride slowed and came to an end. Amalia sighed as she exited the pod. Would any other ride here even come close to the joy of this one?
“Jesus, can we ride the Ferris wheel again?”
“Yes, and, actually, in a way, you’ll always be riding it. But right now I have another ride in mind. Are you ready?”
“With You, I’m ready for anything!”
Little did she know how quickly she would regret those words.
Have you ever thought about where your trust for salvation is? Or how much of your trust is in Jesus? I struggled with that as a new Christian years ago, and wonder how many other people did the same. I’d love to hear your story!
Eph 6:14a Stand, therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth… (or in Amalia’s case: “Sit there…”)
John 14:6 Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Eph. 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not the result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ps 51:12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.