The roller coaster inches its way to the top of its tallest steel hill. You can hear the clatter of the chain pulling you up, up, up. Your heart races faster in anticipation of gravity reversal -- that moment when your slow ascent almost suspends you in space for a second and your body suddenly hurtles downward. The force of it feels as if it will drive you like a railroad spike into the earth, when suddenly you reverse and start back up again.
I'm convinced that life is a lot like that roller coaster ride. The difference is our attitude about the direction we are going. In life, the steady, slow climb up the hill brings us a great feeling of accomplishment. When the inevitable dip comes along the way, our confidence can turn into sheer terror. Suddenly!
I started noticing this a number of years ago. We would get to July and I would get very nervous about all the people I wasn't seeing in church services. "Have they left us?" I would query. "Have they moved away? Is something wrong I don't know about?"
Our staff quickly figured me out and became my emotional support during our hot summer when people do anything possible to get out of Yuma. "Don't worry, Sam." Then they would start naming families and telling me that they were on vacation.
Sure enough, we would get to August when school starts (even in the heat) and suddenly people were back in sync.
We are in the fourth week of a marathon July. The Monday after Independence Day, we started Children's Camp. The next week was Middle School Camp. Last week was perhaps the best Vacation Bible School I have been a part of...ever. This week is high school camp.
I have spent the last few months getting our church ready to consider campus expansion. That decision should take place at the end of next month. This has been a year of painful trials for many of our members, but corporately we had been deeply blessed by God.
Life is like a roller coaster though and, in spite of everything, this is still July.
And I'm fighting off that anxiety of my stomach leaping into my throat.