Tonight we went to see some good friends of ours off on a new adventure. They had a going away party at the park, and we joined lots of sweet friends from our small town as we said goodbye. The kids ran and played until it was too dark to even see whose kids were whose.
The park has an old fashioned merry-go-round in it–the kind where some kids sit and some kids push while it spins round and round and makes everyone dizzy. I have several vivid memories of a girl riding one and then vomiting in the trash can in our first grade classroom when I was a kid. I’m not sure why she kept getting on it at recess, but I guess she figured the pros outweighed the cons, though I doubt our teacher agreed.
All three of my kids were loving the merry-go-round tonight. Emerald kept wanting me to ride in the middle with her while the other kids ran as fast at they could, pushing until they finally jumped on and enjoyed the ride. Sawyer was enjoying trying this. But, pretty soon some bigger kids came over. And, when they started running alongside the merry-go-round, they went fast. From my vantage point I could see that Sawyer was struggling to keep up. Finally, his feet just couldn’t move fast enough, and instead of pulling himself up to ride like the others, he was holding onto the bar with all his might while his body was being dragged behind.
I could see a look of real fear on his face. I don’t think he could see a way that this would end well. He couldn’t get his feet under him to jump on, but he couldn’t let go either. He was stuck, just being dragged around in a circle until someone finally stopped the merry-go-round and he was able to stand up again.
I have been there. I admit I haven’t been dragged by a merry-go-round recently, but I have been dragged around by other circumstances. I have been in spots where I couldn’t quite get my feet under me. I’ve been in situations where I knew good and well that my feeble legs weren’t going to be able to keep up. I’ve panicked when I felt my feet come out from under me. I’ve hung on for dear life when things just wouldn’t slow down.
And, when those times come we may wonder where God is. Why doesn’t He stop this thing? Why doesn’t He make me faster so I can keep up? Why does He let me look so silly, being dragged around like a rag doll in a world full of people who seem to be running at top speed?
But, maybe we’re focusing on the wrong things. When life starts dragging us down, when bad times come and hurt and disappointment and anger seem to be hauling us through the dirt, maybe our focus shouldn’t be on the falling, but on the hanging on. Because I can guarantee you that when the tough stuff comes around, I don’t have the strength to hang on by myself. If there is any hanging on happening around here, it’s because God has got a hold of me.
And, He’s not letting go anytime soon.
So, if you feel today like you’re barely hanging on while you are dragged through the dirt of life, just know that one day you will be able to stand up again. Until then, God is holding on tight. You may panic a little. You may be convinced that this cannot end well. But, God has got you, and He isn’t letting go.
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