28 Nov 2012, by Timothy Tai
When I turned 21, I had the chance to visit some friends in USA and they dragged me to a place in Ohio called Cedar Point. If you’re a roller coaster enthusiast and a lover of all things fast and furious, you may have heard of it since it’s the “Roller Coaster Capital of the World”. It was there that I found myself in line for the Magnum XL-200 which was the first hyper coaster ride in the world. FYI, hyper coasters are roller coasters that exceed a height of 200 feet that can catapult riders from 0 to 70 mph in 4 seconds (using motors originally designed to launch rockets!).
Forced to stand in line for a ride that reached a top speed of 72 mph (i.e. 116km/h), my heart beat so hard that I seriously thought I was going to have a heart attack and die! I wanted to escape but HOW?! I remembered hearing about “chicken exits”, an exit for people who, at the last minute, decide to chicken out and not experience the ride. And I frantically looked out for one. I did not care if I had to crawl through it on my knees. It is better to lose my pride than my life. But to my shock and horror, there was no exit!
I thought to myself:
No chicken exit?! NO CHICKEN EXIT?! HOW CAN THE WORLD’S 1ST HYPER COASTER NOT HAVE A CHICKEN EXIT?! NO! THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING!!!!
Wait-a-minute… What if I pretended to faint? There’s no way they’d put an unconscious person on the ride. They’d HAVE to carry me off then!
PHEW! Disaster averted!!!
Then it hit me: my friends had no plans of leaving Cedar Point before its 11 pm closing time and it was only 11 am. The “fainting episode” might work this time but there was no way I’d be able to use that trick to escape the rest of the rides. The line of people ahead of us was getting shorter by the minute and I was exhausting exit ideas. I resigned to the fact that maybe I was going to die in a hyper coaster ride after all.
But then I thought of something else. See, I had grown up knowing about Jesus and though I never had a personal encounter with Him, I suddenly found myself pleading in my heart, “Jesus… Please be with me on this roller coaster ride. And if I die, I die. Just as long as you are with me!”
Finally, my time had came. I got on the roller coaster and the safety bar came down across my thighs, trapping me in place. I felt like I was in a steel coffin, forecasting that the safety bar would loosen its death grip on me. Of course, it would be too late for me then. The rattling sound of the roller coaster carting us upwards sounded like nails being hammered into my coffin. People on the ground below grew so small that they looked like tiny ants. My mouth went dry and my fists were pale from gripping the safety (no, death) bar so tightly. We were at the very top now and were about to take the plunge.
Just as I was about to close my eyes and prepare for my impending doom, I saw something… JESUS! I was taken aback and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Sitting two rows ahead of me was a woman and emblazoned in large block letters on the back of her green t-shirt was the name: J E S U S.
At that very moment, I knew that Jesus had heard my prayer and that He was with me even though I couldn’t see Him. Relief flooded my soul before the roller coaster hurtled back towards earth and everyone screamed, most of all, yours truly.
But while everyone else was shouting, “AAAAAHHHHHHH” or “WHOOOOAAAAAAAAA” or “GGGGNNNNNNHHHHHHH”, I was yelling “LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRDDDDD!” I cried out “LOOOOOOOOOOOORRRDDDD” for as long as I could remember. However my initial cry of fear and terror turned into shrieks of excitement and joy. I was having fun! I even had a composed mind to pose for the camera during the ride.
Before I knew it, the ride was over. The bar came off and we were back at the loading bay. As I stumbled back onto solid ground, one thought repeated itself over and over in my mind:
“I’m alive! I survived the Magnum XL-200 and I’M ALIVE!”
I wanted to kiss the ground there and then. My eyes looked around for the woman in the green shirt and then I saw her again. This time, I could read the entire back of her T-shirt and here was what it said:
KING OF KINGS
LORD OF LORDS!
Tears welled up in my eyes as I thanked God for being there with me on that ride. And you know, my life was truly never the same since. That first encounter with Jesus marked the beginning of my lifelong adventure with Him. Through all the ups and downs, He has been with me every step of the way. After all, He promises in Matthew 28:20:
And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.
If you’ve never encountered Jesus, why don’t you cry out to Him too? My hope is that you too will meet the One that we all need in the roller coaster of life.
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