Hang On For the Ride of Your Life! A sermon on Deut. 30:15-20
Hang On For the Ride of Your LIFE!
May, in the midst of this crazy life we live, you find exploring the height, the depth, the breadth and width of God’s love for you is more exciting than anything you have ever known!
A Pastor Parker Parable
It’s been a while since I did a Pastor Parker Parable, and today’s Old Testament passage seems to cry out for one.
The Kingdom of God is like a Cannonball.
Specifically, following Jesus, trusting and depending on Him is like a cannonball found in my hometown, just a couple of minutes ride from my house.
Specifically, this cannonball (click to picture) the Yankee Cannonball at Canobie Lake Park.
When I was a kid it was the most creaky, rickety, rollercoaster that I’ve ever been on. It was a blast and very cool…yet scary!
One that wasn’t scary because of the 120 foot first drop, or the sharp curves, or the screams. Sometimes it looked like this, when they replaced half the sticks holding up the tracks…
Which made it interesting.
Sort of like life.
And like, you can hang on for dear life, and enjoy the ride, or you can close your eyes, and miss it. For like the ride, life passes by much too fast – I mean where did July and August go?
So when you hear Moses or myself says, God is giving you a choice between life and death, love God, and hang on for life!
Keep Your Eyes Open!!!
There is a temptation, as you start to climb the long first hill of a rollercoaster, to close your eyes. To ignore the height, you are climbing above the ground, and if you could, you probably close your ears to the tatatataa of the tracks passing underneath the wheels, bringing you closer and closer to the top of the hill, and the change from a gradual, gentle uphill climb to a plummeting descent that causes your cheeks to be behind your ears.
You want to blame someone, whoever caused you to be on this rollercoaster, even as you feel the entire framework sway in the gentle breeze.
And then your stomach is hovering 128 feet above the ground, while the rest of body is bottoming out at 3 feet above the ground and starting to rise up the next hill! ( you do wonder why you didn’t crash full force into the ground, especially as you noticed a lot of wood missing…)
That is our life. There are times where our anxiety rises and turns into a paralyzing fear. We want someone to blame for the mess we are in, and we aren’t having fun. Where we are certain that we are plummeting to our death, or even hell, and we can’t stop and get off of life.
And so we close our eyes to the sin, to the unrighteousness. We try to dismiss it, and say it doesn’t exist, even as it tears at our face, even as we get that sick to our stomach feeling, even as we are sure we are going to crash.
Without Jesus, we would do exactly that. We would crash into the ground at 5000 miles an hour! The supports would give out, and quite possibly, we would take a bunch of people with us.
I am not sure we see sin that clearly. Oh, we might know the anxiety and the guilt and the shame, but do we realize that its end is death? DO you know that sin is disaster? Hear scripture
17 “But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, 18 then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed.
Do we get that sin crushes us, destroys us, that it leads us to worship other gods, to place our trust and hope in things that will let us down?
It does – and if the guilt and shame we try so hard to avoid, if the angst and anxiety sin and unrepentance causes doesn’t convince you of your need for Jesus, then take a serious look at hell. Consider life lived with eyes closed in fear, pain, separation from all of those around you.
Imagine enduring that for eternity?
Imagine the darkness closing in on you – that the choice you have, to open your eyes,
Jesus sets before you that, and real life today. In fact, most of us live with that choice every day.
Life, death, that which is desirable and pleasant, or that which is broken, defective, abandoned.
You see, life is like the rollercoaster – you aren’t in line, you are on the coaster, the wheels are going, the rails are clicking, the wind is blowing past you.
You are committed, but how you react within that commitment makes the difference.
You can close yourself off, from others and from God.
Or you can open your eyes, scream every once in a while, smile and enjoy the ride, trusting in the Lord who is your support, who is your safety, who is your refuge. Who designed the track, who knows the curves, who ensures that you will keep going!
In our reading – it says the way we “LIVE” is to love God, to treasure all that He has established, the laws, the gospel, the promises, the blessings, and where it says commit – that’s means simply to hold on.
And like the front bat on the rollercoaster, your have on for dear life – and it helps you in the curves and in the drops….
But what keeps you safe is that the coaster hangs onto you – you are belted in, you aren’t going anywhere, until it is time to unfasten this belt, because you find yourself safely back home in the station. Until you are safely in His presence….even as you are here for a moment, but then for eternity.
He holds onto you – He is the author and finisher of your faith, and He will present you perfect to the Father.
Keep your eyes open, on Him, hold onto Him, knowing He has united you to himself in baptism, and he will not lose you, and live and enjoy the ride.
knowing the peace that comes, even on a roller coaster. For we are cleansed, made holy, forgiven, healed and never abandoned by our Lord.
And He guards our hearts and minds as we dwell in the peace of our Father, peace that even overcomes fears on a 75-year-old wooden roller coaster!