Saturday, June 27, 2015

Space Mountain: Trust for the Journey

By Randy Crane

Space Mountain, a thrilling, imaginary journey though outer space, is not for the skittish. After the second lift you are in almost complete darkness for the rest of the ride until coming back into the station. Especially for those who don’t ride often, this is an almost completely unpredictable ride. How can we apply Space Mountain to our own lives? Continue after the page break and I'll tell you all about it...

As Christians—even just as humans—we can’t always see where the future will take us. In fact, it’s usually at the most significant times that we can least see what is coming next and how it will affect us. But as Christians, we have an advantage. We know the One who designed the journey.

David says in Psalm 139:16, “Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you. The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day.”

As Christian author Max Lucado says, when we look to the future and see where our lives are now, we can say to God, “I don’t know where I am. I don’t know how I’ll get home. But you do and that’s enough.” That’s not to say that we don’t make free choices throughout our lives, but time poses no challenges for God. He exists outside of time and already knows what we think of as “the future.” Because of that, He has prepared the journey (though it’s up to us to choose to take it)––one we could not have predicted or designed for ourselves, yet nonetheless amazing.

Once on Space Mountain, you are in the hands of the Imagineers who designed the ride to take you on a journey you could not take on your own. Sometimes that’s not easy to do. I used to fear roller coasters. I’m still not a big fan of the steel behemoths that stand 200 feet tall, suspend you from the track, and have six loops, a flat spin, and an inline rollover. But I can at least ride California Screamin’. That coaster is only 120 feet tall, you sit in a seat, and it does only one loop. And the zero-to-55-mph-in-no-time-at-all launch is fun!

But it wasn’t all that long ago that I would not have gone anywhere near this breathtaking ride, let alone to Space Mountain itself.

Back in the mid-1990s, my friend Andy and I would go to Disneyland together all the time. At that time, the most I could handle was Thunder Mountain––and I even got nervous standing in line waiting for that one! Andy wanted to go on all the rides but he waited patiently.

Apparently, we opted for “exposure therapy,” because he and I rode Thunder Mountain almost every time we went to the park. Over time—about a year, actually—I was willing to try the Matterhorn. It took getting in line and chickening out two or three times before I finally rode that one the first time, but eventually I did. And it took another year or so before I was finally willing to try Space Mountain. Now I love them all, though, I have to admit I still get a bit nervous in line at times.

I was able to overcome my fear and enjoy the rides because I knew Andy would not take me on something that was going to hurt me. And I knew the Imagineers were experts who knew exactly what they were doing. They would not build a ride that they knew would endanger riders.

Sometimes the ride is scary. Sometimes it’s exciting. But, when faced with uncertainty, we put ourselves into the hands of people who know exactly what they’re doing. Of course, there’s more than one “track” to the roller coaster of our lives, but God knows exactly what He’s doing. He has seen, knows, and will guide the whole journey, and He’s working all things together for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28).

Sometimes the Christian life is scary. Sometimes it’s exciting. Sometimes it’s unpredictable. Sometimes the journey’s difficulty and our weakness and fear in the face of it is almost overwhelming. Our troubles can seem all-consuming, and our minds imagine the worst things possible.

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16–18)

And so we can trust God, and “enjoy the ride.”

Me in the back right taking a quick nap on Space Mountain

Takeaway: What overwhelming, frightening, or uncertain circumstance in your life today do you need to trust God with?

Randy Crane is a highly-regarded speaker and author, presenting engaging and thought-provoking messages on a variety of topics. He has a natural rapport and connection with audiences that makes them relate well to him, engage in his presentations, and come away with a fresh understanding of the subject at hand. Randy is also the host of the “Stories of the Magic” unofficial Disney podcast, where he interviews people from throughout the Disney company, from front-line Cast Members to Legends. Randy grew up in the church, but—like many others—wandered away from the faith for a time in high school. Now, he is an ordained minister, with both a Bachelor’s degree in Church Ministry (emphasis in Preaching) and a Master’s degree in Congregational Leadership from Hope International University in Fullerton, CA. He has been preaching and teaching since 1998, and has been a drummer/percussionist on church worship teams since 1992. He married his wonderful wife Faye in November of 2000 and they are expecting their first child in April of 2015. Randy is the author of two books, Once Upon YOUR Time and Faith and the Magic Kingdom.

You can find all of Randy's articles here.