Standing in line for the Gatekeeper, I could feel my stomach turning. It was the first ride my husband, son, and I lined up for at Cedar Point last weekend, and I wasn’t sure I was up for it. I have ridden my share of coasters in the past, but the older I get, it seems the emptier my courage is becoming. Noah was being pretty brave about it, but I was afraid that any sign of weakness from me could result in some added fear for him, which I didn’t want. (Turns out that wasn’t something I needed to worry about, as the next day at Kings Island, he rode the Diamondback so many times, he began posing for the camera during the ride, making goofy faces, and at one point forming his hands into the shape of a heart as a message for me to see on the screens in the gift shop).
I had a plan to back out of it. I thought I could just stay in line for the ride, then as I start to climb on, I would just keep climbing through and wait for them at the exit… Maybe he wouldn’t notice I had gotten off. But I didn’t want to do that. So I prayed for guts. Lots of guts. At one point I even had to ask myself if I was sure I wanted God to give me guts, because then I would have to ride it. But probably 40 minutes into the line, I decided I did want the courage. I wanted to be able to face my fear. God did it. I had the courage it would take to get on, get strapped in, and with tears in my eyes, face the Gatekeeper.
Here is what one article said about this ride…
“The GateKeeper is indeed a record-breaker. It is the longest (4,164 feet), fastest (67 mph), has the longest drop (164 feet), and has more inversions than any other wing coaster (six). Moreover, each inversion is different than the last. It also features the highest inversion of any roller coaster in the world.”
Sounds fun, right?
The guts I needed to make it through the ride, climbing up the enormous first hill and then twisting and turning through the rest of the 2 minutes and 40 second ride, were there.
I realize this is just a ride, but it was a big deal for me that day. And if it was a big deal to me, it was a big deal to God. I’m so glad He feels that way.
There is something a little bigger that I am also praying for the guts to do. I’ve had it on my heart for a while to have a Bible study for about a year now (I guess I don’t like to jump into things?). God has kind of gotten specific about it in a way only He can do.
Not feeling sure about whether I wanted to try it at my home, or at church, I put it off, and undoubtedly questioned my qualifications to lead one. But lately God has put my neighbors on my heart.
I’m not a social neighbor. At all. I can probably count on one hand the names of the neighbors I know. I’m not proud of this, just stating the facts. I’ve lived in this house since the 1900s (Christmas of 1999, to be exact…). That should be enough time for anyone to get comfortable enough to introduce themselves, but not me.
But God isn’t letting me out of this one, and I don’t want Him to. It started with a feeling that I should pray for my neighbors. So I took a walk around my neighborhood, asking God to work in each home with whatever situations were going on there. Then I see on Facebook, without searching for it, a daily guide to praying for your neighbors – their salvation, knowing God’s love, grace, that they would have the peace of God, forgiveness and healing, and wisdom.
Then, in His not-so-subtle way, we get a package delivered to our house, but it was for a neighbor, mistakenly left on our doorstep (big bummer, by the way. I LOVE getting stuff in the mail).
Shawn takes it to the neighbor’s house, and gets into a lengthy conversation with them. The man is super friendly, and tells Shawn he and his wife have recently started a Hispanic church in Putnam County, and that he wants to start a Bible study in the neighborhood. Wow.
So, I will ask for your prayers as I attempt to figure out details of what God wants me to do with this. I’m excited about it, but am nervous, and a little scared. Especially scared I will chicken out, or find excuses as to why I can’t do it.
The writer of Hebrews says this as he finishes out the book in chapter 13…
20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
So I’m praying for guts. And just like He equipped me with the guts to climb aboard the Gatekeeper, He will supply the guts for this as well.
Obviously, this isn’t us, but you can take a peek at what the GateKeeper is like right here…. Yikes!