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The Roller Coaster of Hope

I think the reason we like roller coasters is because they reflect life. A typical coaster ride begins slowly with an uphill climb that is filled with anticipation, fear, and exhilaration making it feel like it is going to take forever for the actual ride to begin. Then with a flourish, we careen downward in a rush of adrenaline and imagination followed by twists, turns, dips and rises that come at us so fast we barely have time to think. Suddenly, the thrill ends and, although we can’t remember all the details, we remember it as a great experience. We forget about the wait. We forget about the price. We simply talk about it with great emotion and celebration.
Isaiah 9 reminds me of just such a ride. At the beginning of the chapter the people living in Galilee (Zebulun and Naphtali) “were in distress” (v. 1) and experiencing the humble discipline of the Lord. They were frustrated and fearful thinking this state of affairs may never end. This, however, was just the climb to the beginning of the ride because “in the future he [God] will honor Galilee of the nations.” (v. 1) The rest of the journey would be filled with exhilarating changes of pace and unexpected blessings:
• “The people walking in darkness” would suddenly see “a great light.” (v. 2) About the time they concluded it would always be gloom, frustration, disappointment and manipulation, their Messiah would arrive. When Jesus came to earth, Galilee was considered an inferior, kind of second class portion of the nation. The “real honor” was in Jerusalem where the rich and ruling class lived. Galilee was filled with “simple” agricultural and trades people. And yet, that is where Jesus called home.
• The gloom of verse 1 would suddenly be replaced with “joy . . . as people rejoice at the harvest.” (v. 3) As people realized who Jesus was, they couldn’t help but get excited about the possibilities.
• The burdens that were holding them back would suddenly be shattered. (v. 4) Jesus Himself said, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will see you free.” (John 8:32) He then followed that thought up with “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36)
• The reasons why men go to war would suddenly be replaced by a leader who led perfectly. He will always give wise counsel, always possess sufficient power, always lead with integrity (like a Father), and always do what produces peace. And, He will do this forever. (v. 5-7) There has never been a leader like Jesus. Every human leader is motivated by self-interest and pride. Only Jesus is fully motivated by righteousness, holiness, integrity, and purpose.
Just like a roller coaster ride, when it is finished, we won’t remember all the details of the journey. We won’t remember the climb or the jolts that produced fear. We won’t remember the rapid descents that caused us to scream. We won’t remember the twists that jostled us around or turned us upside down. We will simply remember it was a great ride.

One Response

  1. Great analogy & devotional…I hope you don’t mind me posting this on FB – Thanks Bill!

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