I’ve always hated the Its a Small World ride at Disneyland. I don’t know if it’s the incessant song, the Chucky-like dolls or just the bland predictability of it all.
I prefer Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride, where every turn is a new adventure. Just when you think you have it figured out, you are spun around and sent off in an entirely new direction.
So I wonder why we feel compelled to sell the Christian life as more Small World than Wild Ride? We tell people if they’ll take these six steps to a better life in Jesus, their finances will improve, their spouse will love them more and their acne will clear up. While there might be bumps along the way, the more we follow Jesus, the better our world will be. Sing along: “It’s a Christ world after all, it’s a Christ world after all …”
When the cancer recurs, a husband leaves or a foreclosure happens, good Christian people are devastated. This isn’t what they stood in line for. What happened to the gentle boat ride, the pleasant song? They realize the steps and keys and formulas for a better tomorrow are worthless when today slaps you in the face.
The funny thing is, Jesus never soft-sold discipleship. He spoke of taking up your cross, selling your possessions, hating your family. He promised His followers that in the world they would have trouble and they would be hated; he invited them join him on Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.
The thing about the Wild Ride is that no matter how wild it gets, you know everything will be all right in the end. You’ll be spun around, jerked left and then right, stopped, started and stopped again. But then the ride will end and you will be OK. That is the promise of the Christian life.
Not that we will figure it all out, raise successful kids, have an awesome marriage and live debt-free. Those are incredible benefits that some experience and others don’t. But they are not the hope of the Christian life. The hope is that everything will be OK in the end. To quote the movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, if it’s not all right, then you know it’s not the end.
Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it to the full.” That full life will include wonderful things and also things too awful to think about. But everything—everything—will be all right in the end. Let’s tell people that, because that is the truth.
Geoff Surratt is the pastor of church-planting at Southeast Christian Church in Parker, Colo.
For the original article, visit pastors.com.