Faith Like a Water Slide
This weekend was the annual Kalahari trip for the youth group - this year we had 5 youth join Jackie and myself who were over the moon excited about this day. Kalahari is a water park in Sandusky, Ohio that has water slides, wave pools, hot tubs, and the classic "toilet bowl" that they were all super excited to go on. See below for context
Flush goes the youth group
As I sit in the cacophony of sound of excited families and kids splashing their way around the park I realize two things: Holy crap I am going to miss these kids so much when I leave. They bring me more joy than I ever thought possible when I started. (Jackie, too. I guess. :P) Secondly, our faith is often like a water slide. Today's blog will share more on that idea. First, let's read some scripture.
Scripture to Read
- My Thoughts -
I love this story from the Old Testament because its just so visual. You can feel the anticipation from King Ahab, Elijah, and Elijah's servant as he runs up the mountain looking for the first sight of a rain cloud during a years long drought. I feel like this is applicable to the church as we continue to come out of the pandemic into a more normal world (still not there yet but close.) After having so many programs come to halt or modified it feels like we're awaiting our own rain cloud as God pour down more blessings on us.
However, this text also reminds me of our time at Kalahari last night because a great deal of the time at the water park is filled with time waiting in line for the ride. It's an odd mixture of boredom and excitement about what's to come. A great deal of our faith is like this. We awake and go about our days and fall asleep and largely nothing too exciting happens. But as Christians we remain in waiting anticipation for the belief that God will do something amazing each day or that Christ will come again in final victory. However, it's often in this boredom stage that we can wander from the faith in frustration of wanting to grow deeper, experience something greater, and witness something bigger. Stay strong and keep in the waiting - great things are to come.
Now imagine you're at the top of the water slide and all of sudden things change. This isn't just something you were in line for - this means you're committed. Oh. Crap. You start to feel a mix of fear and excitement as you get ready to go down the slide which you know will have plenty of drops, turns, and sections where you can't see anything whatsoever. This thrilling ride is fast, exciting, and over before you know it. But when you get to the bottom it gives you all the motivation you need to get back in line and deal with the boredom for another payoff. These moments are most often referred to in church as "mountaintop moments." In those few rare moments we actually got to see the youth group yesterday they were shaking with joy talking over each other about the stories they've made along the way in getting to the bottom. But, that's the mystery (and frustration) of faith. It's a long slow followed by a short fast and yet another long slow.
I think that our faith should be a healthy mix of slow and fast. In the slow and waiting we have time to reflect, to wonder, to ask questions, to be present with ourselves, our surroundings, and our God. But if our faith always lives in "the line" (so to speak) than we'll get bored of it and walk away. Therefore, we need those payoff moments. The moments where our faith is fast, is even a little scary, a faith where we had to brave and bold; perhaps even take a dare against what we would normally do. Maybe that's serving the homeless and eating alongside them, perhaps its creating spaces for racially diverse people to be in conversation, or maybe it's speaking or singing in church on a Sunday when that would otherwise be really scary for you. I know anytime I have to play guitar for church my legs get wobbly just like they do when I'm next in line for a waterslide! But much like the tumbling of the water slide and being spit out on the other end I put my pick and guitar down smiling from ear to ear saying "that was fun - let's do that again." For each of you I know there is a growth space in your faith in daring to do something uncomfortable - perhaps even scary - but what are you waiting for? You can't just stand in line all day. So grab your floats and inter tubes and meet me and our youth at the top. We can't wait to slip and slide with you in this great waterslide of faith.
Praying with Praise
This wonderful song from Elevation came out a few years ago now but it tells the story of 1 Kings 18 from the perspective of the servant while asking you to consider what a "cloud of blessings" could be for your life. Is it more peace? More money? More friends? More love? More "normal"? Whatever drought you find yourself facing today I hope you can find comfort and renewal in this song as you march on through Lent with us.