The Greatest Thrill

I’m not sure how many of you are thrill seekers, but one of the greatest places to get that sudden jolt of adrenaline that will make your neck veins distend and your heart pump out of your chest is at Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio.

While I haven’t been there in years, I will never forget the Dragster. It has to be the most ridiculous ride ever!

From a standing start you’re launched forward, then straight up, then straight down and back to the finish line. Zero to 120 MPH in less than 4 seconds. 420 feet in the air.

The ride may be over in 17 seconds, but it’ll stay with you forever.

After the Harness Clicks

I think the scariest part is when you are seated in the ride with the harness clicking over your shoulders and locking in place. While it may only be seconds, that “pause” between the final click of the harness and the hiss of the hydraulic brakes releasing to jolt you forward seems like an eternity.

In those seconds, you think:

  • It is too late for me to change my mind.
  • Was this all a big mistake?
  • Is this what death feels like?
  • How much will it hurt?
  • I’m not sure I should have done this

But the problem is that it IS too late.

On the dragster you realize this all within 17 seconds. Tears have streamed across the side of your head and into your hair. Your lips are still wrapped around the back of your head. Your heart has stopped and restarted again. The harness has released and you hear that voice over the loudspeaker, “Please exit to your left. I hope you’ve enjoyed the ride.”

And guess what? You are amazed. You lived. And then you immediately text your closest friends and put status updates on Facebook and Twitter, knowing that you have secured bragging rights for the immediate future.

Do you know what?

In my journey of faith, I have discovered that following Christ is a lot like getting on a ride at the theme park.

There are times when God leads you to new seasons and places. It is scary. The harness of life clicks in place over your shoulders, and there is no way to escape. God may put you in situations where you are completely incapable of breaking free until after the experience is over. Here are a few situations that I think of:

  1. God asking Abraham to sacrifice Isaac.
  2. The anxiety that Nathan must have felt when he confronted David.
  3. God asking Hosea to marry a prostitute wife and to forgive her when she was unfaithful.
  4. Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem, knowing that the Cross would stand on Calvary.
  5. Stephen who was stoned after he testified before the Sanhedrin.

The list goes on. Scripture testifies to situation after situation where God’s people must experience the “thrill” of trusting Him.

What about me?

Recently, Samantha and I have been experiencing the amazing adventure of following Christ. It has not been easy. Right now I am in the middle of a career change. I have been a registered nurse for almost 10 years now. It has brought a sense of financial security. Great benefits. Flexibility. The opportunity to minister to people who are sick.

Yet, we both sense that nursing is not likely our future. While we are absolutely willing to continue in nursing, it seems that this door in my life is closing after these years. It is difficult to explain, but we have experienced affirmation from individuals and situations outside of ourselves.

  • Family and friends who have watched me struggle in a worthy career affirm that I am not best gifted or shaped for nursing.
  • Even after intense study and internships, coworkers can see a “gap” in my abilities at work as a nurse.
  • My Myers-Briggs personality profile is an ENFJ. Look it up and you will see that this is not a great fit for a job that is demanding and filled with colleagues who tend to carry dominant personalities.
  • I have had positive affirmation that nursing is not the best suit for me- from my pastor and other leaders in my life who see my gifting and potential for full time vocational ministry.
So now what?

Even some of my closest friends have asked,

  • So do you have anything up the pipeline?
  • What is your backup plan?
  • How much do you have in savings?
  • What if you cannot find a ministry job?
  • Don’t you know that you are supposed to provide for your family?

And the list goes on…

Frankly, it makes me want to vomit. I know they mean well. And trust me, as someone who has a wife and three kids and a house payment and bills to pay, I know as well as anyone….

So, my answer is “I don’t know.”

Right now, if there is anything that seems clear it is that nursing is not working. That’s it. It has been a struggle professionally. It has taken a toll on me physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Right now I liken myself to that person whose harness just clicked. They are about to go from zero to 120 mph in less than 4 seconds.

Do you know what is going through my head right now?

  • Wow, is this the right decision?
  • How am I going to pay bills and put food on the table?
  • Will the Lord really come through?
  • Is this what he really wants?
  • Is this going to hurt?
  • I’m not sure I should have done this.

There is nothing scarier than clicking in securely to God’s grace and trusting him through the ride.

Right now, I am praying for God’s grace. I don’t know all the answers. I don’t know the future. I don’t know how this ride is going to feel when the lips of my life are wrapped around my neck at the end.

What I do know is that when the ride is over, when my heart stops pounding and God says over the loud speaker, “The ride is over. Please exit to your left,” the first thing that I am going to do after this struggle is to secure my bragging rights of God’s grace and get on Twitter and Facebook and the blogosphere and let everyone know what God does in our life.

In the mean time, will you please pray for me and Samantha and our family?

God is giving us our greatest thrill. Trusting him.

Thank you,

Jeremiah

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4 thoughts on “The Greatest Thrill

  1. Jeremiah, you are right on target. Just like your uncle Rick has said many times, trusting God for your needs when He is calling you into ministry is the most important thing you can do next to obeying His call. Keep studying His Word and be willing to be the servant He wants you to be. He will bless you for being a man of faith just like He did Abraham, and many other Old Testament saints. Mom and I are praying for you and your family, and we know that God has a plan for your lives. Just remember one thing God is always in control and will get you through the hard times as well.

  2. Thanks Dad. I’m really great at preaching this stuff. It all makes sense on paper. Now, let’s see how well I can apply it to my life. Definitely harder. Thanks for your prayers.

  3. Jeremiah,

    My wife, Jonita, told me about your blog post after reading your wife’s latest post. (She loves Samantha’s blogs. She never misses any of them!) It was so amazing to read about this change in your life and how you are being faithful in all of it. I have such a tendency to shrink back into what comfortable, but reading your post is so encouraging to me. We will be praying for you guys, knowing that God is in control of it all. I cannot wait to read more about the ways God is working in you and your family!

    • Hi Lesley,

      Thanks for reading my post. Samantha is even more gifted than I am. She has a lot of people that read her blog. She is certainly gifted at connecting deeply with others, especially with her writing. It is encouraging to hear how the Lord encourages others through her.

      On the home-front, life has definitely been a whirlwind for sure! I am due to make another update and fill everyone in on the latest and greatest. I have to say that these past several weeks have been a gift from the Lord. I have been diligent to apply for jobs and send out resumes. I’ve heard little on the ministry front, but there are a couple things up the pipeline. Following Christ is certainly an adventure. I may have to take a nursing job short term while I continue to look for full time ministry. That wouldn’t be horrible since it would give me more time to grow and mature.

      Thanks for your kind and encouraging words.

      God bless!

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