A baby is finally born after two days of labor as four grandparents anxiously await its arrival.
A bridal shower is celebrated with friends and family in joyful attendance, all the while knowing that in less than a month that bride will move to the other side of the country.
A student graduates from college and says goodbye to closest friends, ready to embrace the real world.
A marriage dissolves as the real world proves too difficult an obstacle.
A young driver totals a car while all involved tremble with gratitude at their safety.
All this in the span of a few days! And a mother prays, because she knows that’s all she can do. She puts all these people and situations in God’s hands.
This is life. Pain and joy happen in rapid succession, sometimes even together in the same situation.
As Forest Gump’s mama so wisely said, “Sometimes life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Occasionally, life is as calm and as steady as a train ride that tours the park perimeter; we get to relax and coast along enjoying the view.
Sometimes life is more like a ski lift, and we are forced to jump off into our futures or risk being knocked over by our pasts.
And sometimes life is like a rollercoaster, with all its ups and downs and twists and turns, and we confront the certain knowledge that things are not in our control.
This is life. Nothing is constant; nothing predictable except its unpredictability.
When all the turmoil threatens my peace, I hear Jesus say, “Do not let your hearts be troubled” (John 14:27). Weaved through all life’s uncertainty is a constant I can trust: God. He is the one who in His kindness gives us joys to celebrate and in His wisdom allows us to experience sorrows that remind us of the unfillable desires of this life. Nothing is constant except God in His faithfulness, His strength, and His presence, and these are always with us.
So I can relax. There is no rollercoaster or ski lift of God’s love; there is only His constant tenderness and gentle presence on the train ride of life.