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Jimmy Elder: Relaxing on a Zip Line

If Wall Street has taught us anything, it is that we cannot fully predict the way things go in life.

The best pundits in journalism and other media have had moments of baffling fascination with the unpredictability of things. They speak of things being counter-intuitive, against expectations and the like. One of the more interesting parts of this whole rollercoaster that has been the stock market is the reaction of the people, who have a calmness and peace greater than anyone would have expected.

The greater hysteria is from the non-financial pundits, who spin their views into realities. I suppose it IS like a rollercoaster: the more often a person rides, the more accustomed one becomes to the dynamics, forces and feelings it elicits.

Rev. Jimmy Elder of the First Baptist Church of Columbus, GA

While I am not given to riding a rollercoaster, I did try my hand at a zip-line course. I was terrified to start with and then began to relax as I trusted the process and equipment and I grew accustomed to the sensations that zip-lining elicited.

Over the last several weeks, I have watched a number of families close to me and close this Church Family brave the rollercoaster of life. In some cases it seemed as if one challenge was handed off to another challenge.

Over and over, the struggles seemed large enough to overwhelm but I have been amazed at the depth of faith and grasp of the power and trust in God that have seen them through the ups and downs of living.

I preach about it all the time, and I believe it with all my heart. I love to see, however, when something I know is trusted and embraced by those who need it most.

Looking at a zip-line from the ground and thinking the process through can be frightening. Experiencing it firsthand changes the perspective completely. Looking at life from the ground up is daunting, to say the least, and frightening at the outside. But walking through the inevitable things we face in life in the power of the Spirit, and looking at them through the lenses of faith, ease the heart and allow us to travel in relative peace step by step.

By the same token, if we always knew what was going to happen next, we would worry ourselves to death. But as life reveals itself moment by moment, we can travel in confidence and in peace.

The hymn writer penned the words, I know Who holds tomorrow and I know Who holds my hand. That is the secret to spiritual happiness in life. The cliched advice we give is, Take it one day at a time. Jesus teaches to Let US take it one day at a time.

The difference in the cliche and the real help can be found in Who walks with us.

I want Jesus to to walk with me. It is my responsibility to invite Him into the concerns, struggles, rears, successes, joys, challenges and expectations of life. He truly knows where the path is best for each of us. That is the safe journey for the believer.

(The Rev. Jimmy Elder is the longtime pastor of the First Baptist Church in Columbus, Ga. He writes this column for The Weekly Guide, a publication provided for members of the church in Uptown Columbus.)
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