by Lygia Lovelace
She never liked roller
coasters when she was a little girl, not really. They were
too unpredictable! When she would go to theme parks or carnivals
with her brothers, they always tried to persuade her to
ride with them. But she would refuse. What was fun about
it anyway? Going up, then down at breakneck speed? Well,
that just wasn't for her. She was called Cautious Rhonda.
As she grew older, she came
to believe in Christ. She didn't know much at first, but
she was so excited about her new faith! She loved reading
the Bible; she loved going to church. She asked a lot of
questions until she gained a reputation in Sunday School…Inquisitive
As she grew older in her faith,
she began to teach others, and serve in the church. She
even shared her faith wherever she went, and she was determined
to raise her children to know Him. Her husband had full
confidence in her and praised her often. He was well-respected
in the church. She was known as Faithful Rhonda.
No one really knows what happened
with Rhonda. It seems that as her children grew, there were
more problems in her life. (This is often the case, you
know.) She became a worrier. Her children made mistakes,
and she became discouraged, and more than a little indignant.
Her faithfulness to the things of God dwindled…she stopped
reading her Bible every day. She quit serving in church.
She just told everyone that she was too old to serve so
faithfully -- she'd "been there, done that", and
it was time for the younger generation of church-goers to
take up that torch and get busy. She enjoyed criticizing
the church and the new pastor, and never even considered
doing more than attending an occasional fellowship or luncheon.
She neglected her prayer time.
What good does it do anyway, she thought, my prayers are
I pray for my children, but
they don't follow God.
I pray for my husband, but
he never changes.
I pray for my friends, and
even my church, but I see no results…
So she became Lazy Rhonda
as she began to sleep later most mornings, ignoring her
early wake-up call to pray and read her Bible. She rolled
her eyes and refused to go to church anymore during the
week. She was just too busy, too tired!
She even slept in occasionally
on Sunday mornings. The pain in her joints was just too
much for getting up on Sunday. After all, she had to get
up early every other day. Why not relax on Sunday?
But then something happened.
She couldn't really explain it. One Sunday morning, when
she did actually get out of bed and go to church, the preacher
said something that made her heart sit up and take notice!
She fingered her Bible as he preached, and actually felt
the Spirit calling her to return to its pages. Gradually
she began to pull herself out of bed and take a few moments
each morning to read the Words that God had so lovingly
written to her. She felt a turning in her heart. She felt…different:
more peaceful; stronger, yet lighter! She even began to
take her eyes off of herself and encourage others! She prayed
for her children, her friends, her church…and she was much
nicer to her husband.
She became Refreshed Rhonda.
But then, as the days went
by, she grew tired again: tired of the problems that came
her way, tired of the way others aggravated her, tired of
her husband, tired of the new music at church…
So she stopped reading her
Bible. She hardly prayed anymore, and most people avoided
her, because they never knew what mood she would be in…
That's when she became Roller
My friends, do you know anyone
riding that roller coaster? It's not a fun ride, let me
tell you. I ought to know -- I've bought a few tickets to
it myself. First you are up on a mountaintop, praising God,
being faithful to Him, seeing with spiritual eyes the problems
that come your way, then, somehow, and without warning,
your car dips down at breakneck speed into the depths of
discouragement, or anger, or frustration, or discontent,
or indignance, or whatever… and you are pummeling
back to earth with no sign of rising again.
You know something I've noticed
about riding that roller coaster? When you are tumbling
down that steep incline, from zero to eighty miles per hour,
it's impossible to take the Word with you. You are too busy
hanging on! Your mind is whirling, and you consider it impossible
to think on the things of God, on His daily miracles, or
on the commitment that you once made to Him.
And those closest to you begin
to wonder about your relationship with God. Your children
wonder why you want them to be more like Christ when you
yourself are so miserable. Where's the difference in that,
And your husband just misses your laughter and the fun you
Your friends tiptoe around
you, afraid of saying something wrong.
Your church family barely recognizes
you anymore, and your pastor wishes he could help you-if
he could just figure out what was actually wrong. And in
truth, he's a little afraid of you…
Almost every night, the children
and I walk. We love the outdoors and the exercise! We've
mapped out a trail around and through the Children's Home
campus where we currently live.
It's best to go there just
as the sun is going down. There are quaint little village
street lamps that begin to light up the path, one by one,
as the sky grows darker. We walk through the lighted path
and enjoy the peacefulness -- the quietness of the close
of day. While the walk is strenuous, the way is restful.
One day, as we were walking
along our path and passed the playground area, I glanced
down at the seed pebbles that act as flooring for the swings
and the merry-go-round. There were baby plants popping up
everywhere in those rocks! The children were fascinated!
We stopped our walk long enough to dig out one of the little
baby saplings from the rocks -- its stem and root system
was attached to an acorn! There were actually plants growing
in the impossibilities of seed pebbles!
Oh, they won't last, I explained
to the children. They will spring up quickly, but when their
roots begin looking for a true anchor -- a firm foundation
-- then the plants will begin to die. There will be no mainstay
to hold them.
Our three little boys took
pity on those shoots. The next day, they took plastic cups
with water in them. Carefully they removed the young-grown
plants and placed them in the cups.
Fascinated with their compassion,
I just watched. Some of the cups, the boys left in the sun,
on the sidewalk.
"We'll get to them later," they said.
One cup, they left inside.
And then Jonah took one little
growing sapling, acorn shell attached, and planted it, right
at the front of our garden, between the peppers and the
Now, we actually have a baby
tree in our garden! The cup of acorn shoots left in the
house died long ago…they really shouldn't have stayed so
long in one place. They grew stagnant and lifeless.
The cup left in the sun is
now full of scorched, withered stems. The heat of life became
too much for the tender, vulnerable sprouts. They lacked
foundation, stability, and fortitude.
Just like Roller Coaster Rhonda.
Have you ridden any roller
coasters lately? This is not God's best for your life, you
know. He desires for you a consistent, even, fun ride. But
it is also a narrow journey.
When emotions control me and
circumstances dictate my moods, then I have bought that
ticket. Sigh. I soon become an unpredictability to my family
and all of those around me. I've lost my joy, and I become
bitter instead of persevering in my prayer life and in my
walk with the Father. And that's no fun at all.
It hurts my witness, and it
saddens the One who gave me life.
Get off the ride. It's just
not fun anymore, is it?
No more Roller Coaster Rhonda.
Do not sorrow, for the joy of the
Lord is your strength!
You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Copyright © 2010. Faith Matters by Lygia Lovelace.
All rights reserved. KenLovelaceMinistries.com