Can I begin with a confession?
I don’t like Carousels.
They’re beautiful. But I don’t like to ride them. For one thing, it gets boring. But for another, going in circles makes me sick.
Six flags used to have this ride called Spindletop. It was a giant barrel stuck in the ground. You walked in through a door at the bottom and then lined up around the interior wall. The barrel started to spin and the centrifugal force pinned you to the wall. Then the bottom fell out, and you spun in tight circles stuck to the wall.
I hated that ride. It was basically a faster version of the carousel.
One year a seventh grade boy in my youth group came to me as we were getting ready to go to Six Flags.
He said, “Bill, I need to tell you something, but you have to promise you won’t tell anyone.”
He looked mortified so I agreed, “What?”
He said, “Whatever happens I can’t ride the Spindletop.”
He said, “I mean it. If they try to make me you have to help me.”
“I will,” I said, “No Spindletop, you and me can sit and watch.”
He said, “I’m going to tell you something I’ve never told anyone else.”
I said, “OK.”
He continued, “One day I road the Spindletop. We were all stuck to the wall. The barrel was going round and round. I started feeling sick and I threw up.”
“You threw up?” My mind was picturing the scene, “That means. . .”
“Yes.” He read my thoughts with this terrible look. “It got pasted to the wall.”
“That’s not the worst of it.” He said, “It started to spread out. The people next to me could see it coming but they couldn’t pull away from the wall. Like a stream, it just kept going right up to their faces and. . .”
I interrupted him. “I get the picture.”
He said other people started to get sick. “How horrible.”
“Yes,” he said, “Everyone was really mad at me when they stopped the ride.”
That young teenager had just described my worst nightmare. “I’m with you,” I said, “no Spindletop for us.”
I don’t think God made us to go in circles. And I think that’s why some people get so tired of life. It just feels like this big monotonous carousel. Go around a few times and “boring.” You just repeat the past. That’s nauseating. Let me offer an alternative.
Listen to this:
(Philippians 3:13) But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead,
God has something a lot better than a carousel.