Roller Coaster Christianity


I don’t want to be a roller coaster Christian. You know what I’m talking about—the kind of Christian who runs to God when she feels like she’s at the bottom of the slope…but then, when things are at an all-time high, she just goes with the flow; she keeps her eyes fixed on her own agenda, her own priorities, without so much as even bothering to give God the time of day.

It’s simple and perhaps even instinctual to run to Heaven’s throne when things aren’t going so well…or rather, the way we want them to go. In those moments of desperation and despair, when everything around us is crumbling, going to God is easy—second nature. We go to Him; we cry out for mercy; we ask God to grant us immeasurable amounts of grace and the strength to make it through the trials and tribulations. We pray for refinement, saying things like: “Oh, Lord! Use this experience to shape me into the person You want me to be. Let this time of distress be a tool that You use to make me more like Christ.” But then when life becomes manageable again, when the cup passes, God takes the back burner. Our Bibles find a home on the bookshelf and begin to collect dust. Prayers become routine, thoughtless graces spoken before meals. What happened to the heartfelt conversations we once had with Christ? Those desperate pleas we once offered to God?

And so we go on with our Christian lives, hastening to the throne when things get bad and doing exactly the opposite when things are okay. Circumstances drive us. Complacency eventually sets in. Then a new wave of suffering crashes over us: some new unfortunate situation that knocks the control right out of our hands. And thus, the vicious cycle continues.

Am I the only person who does this?

I’m currently at a very low point—the valley, or the bottom of the slope if you will. Waking up each morning isn’t exactly appetizing, and it’s God’s grace and only His grace that allows me to face another day. So naturally, since things aren’t exactly peachy keen at the moment, I find myself praying and thinking quite often about God: His character, the mysterious ways in which He works, why He would allow these horrible things to happen in my life and in the lives of my family members, why my prayers seem to disappear into some unknown void, etc. But regardless of the nature of my prayers and meditations, the fact is, right now, it’s easy to go to God. It’s easy to lay my burdens before Him and wait for Him to grant me a miracle or at least an answer. But I have to wonder: when He does grant me that miracle or provide me with an answer…when this season of despair passes and when things go back to being ‘normal’ (whatever that means), what will become of these questions, these prayers, these heart examinations? Will they just fade away? Will I once again place God on the back burner?

What will it take for me to find consistency in my walk with Christ? When will I learn to push past the feelings, to let my relationship with Jesus be driven by love instead of emotions? Or will I merely go on for the rest of my life as a roller coaster Christian?


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