How do you cope with new experiences? With change?

Are you the Exploring Pioneer who lives for the new horizon, longing to see what’s just over the next ridge? Maybe you’re the Establisher who would rather leave the initial foliage hacking to someone else while you figure our how to set up the new water system? Or how about the Maintainer who finds their moxie while making sure every existing operation remains status quo?

Regardless of your predisposition, change tends to creep up on our doorstep more frequently than we’d  like, and less often enough than we’d hope.

At first, new experiences can seem overwhelming. And they’re thrust upon us without warning. Judah, for example, on an escalator for the first time in Carousel Mall. He was walking along, holding Daddy’s confident hand, when the floor dropped out from underneath him. Worse, he was going down, not even making an effort to do so.

I could sense his panic. He stiffened. Hands outstretched.

Minutes later we mounted the large, antique carousel in the food court. The same uncertainty washed over him as he clung to the mast, regardless of the cheery music or flashing lights.

But in both the case of the escalator and the carousel, Judah began to find areas of enjoyment as the experience went on. The strange feeling in his stomach became exciting. The movement was exhilarating. And despite his uncertainty, his Dad was right beside him.

Soon, Judah was having fun. And by the time each ride was over, he wanted to do them again. And again. And again.


1.) Your Dad Has Already Walked This Road :: There is a reason that Jesus had to be “tempted and tested just as we are.” Not just so that he could relate to us (as is often preached, and rightly so), but so that we could have full confidence in him when he says, “It will be OK.” He knows. As Judah’s Dad, I would never willfully lead him into a situation that would bring him harm, or that I have not already walked myself; how much more so would a perfect Father behave? I’ve used escalators for decades, as well as carousels. Just my physical presence beside him gave Judah confidence regardless of the immediate reservations. Without even rationalizing it, Judah was trusting his Daddy.

2.) Look For The Joy :: Some might argue that not all experiences in life are enjoyable. True, but all experiences are able to produce joy. This is a principle of the Kingdom, one I’m very grateful for. The experience referred to as The Cross was anything but enjoyable for Jesus; yet he endured it “for the joy set before him.” That, and he knew that his Father was able to make good come out of even the most dire circumstances. It would be obscene to consider that any single experience of our own trumps the Cross, so if that’s Jesus’ example, it must be our standard. Fear of falling and lack of control were just two of the issues racing through little Judah’s head. But to his credit he was able to overcome them and soon realized there was joy to be had.

Unlike Judah’s desire to re-do the escalator and the carousel, not all of life’s experiences are things we want to repeat. But the joy we can engage in because of them should be. Left to God, life–even when dealt its most difficult ordeals–can produce divine avenues of joy that leave us saying one thing of the Lord: more. Because Judah will remember the preeminence of his father in his life, not that of some cheap rides. ch:

What’s a recent experience you’ve walked through?

6Surely he will never be shaken;

a righteous man will be remembered forever.

7He will have no fear of bad news;

his heart is steadfast, trusting in the LORD.

8His heart is secure, he will have no fear;

in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.

Psalm 112


Adele Hajicek · 27 Dec ’10 at 10:52 pm

That’s such a good description, CH! The word translated as ‘faith’ or ‘believe’ in the NT also has a meaning of trust. Our relationship with God should indeed be that of a trusting child. Thank you!

Jennifer Hopper · 27 Dec ’10 at 11:19 pm

Wonderful Post! Thank you babe.

Will · 27 Dec ’10 at 11:57 pm

Good stuff as always Christopher. It would appear that I have a lot of opportunities for joy as of late, so I will make an effort to change my thinking and see them as such.

jamie rutigliano · 28 Dec ’10 at 12:12 am

Pastor Christopher You Rock !..this was AWESOME !

Christopher Hopper · 30 Dec ’10 at 8:45 pm

Thanks all. Appreciate your feedback. You all rock! ch:

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