Roller coasters and enjoying God

Chuck Tabor - Contributing columnist

A protest is usually designed to produce a favorable or positive goal. But for the passengers of American Airlines Flight 893 to Nassau, Bahamas, it’s hard to see anything positive that resulted from the refusal of 30 students to wear masks aboard the plane.

According to a local news station, all the passengers were required to change planes because of mechanical issues. But once aboard the second plane, the students decided not to follow the crew’s instructions to wear masks.

Passenger Malik Banks was seated next to the group. “It was bad. First, they were yelling. They were cursing. They were being very obnoxious.”

He was quick to clarify that not all the students were behaving this way. “I would say 75% to 80% of them were being terrible kids, saying smart stuff.”

As a result of the students’ behavior, American Airlines canceled the flight. Passenger Christina Randolph was incensed.

“Well, I’m a nurse, and it’s really, really hard to get time off work,” said Randolph. “So when you finally get time off, you really want to be somewhere you want to be.”

The canceled flight meant everyone traveling to the Bahamas lost at least a day of vacation time, and another passenger noted that the delay was costly.

“Some people’s vacations are ruined. They were only going for a couple of nights. Now, they have to get rebooked.”

A representative for American Airlines acknowledged the incident and said that adult passengers were given hotel vouchers to spend the night. Due to age restrictions in booking hotels, however, the students had to spend the night at the airport.

Randolph lamented, “All they had to do was follow the rules, put the mask on, sit there. No smart-mouth comments. And they couldn’t do it.”

I don’t know about you, but I too am tiring of wearing masks wherever we go. But I am also smart enough (I think) to know that the best way to deal with a bad situation is not to protest but to figure out how to make the best of it.

My Dad was always one to say, “When you get lemons in life, figure out how to make lemonade!”

I suppose that is why when our kids were little, we would do fun things with them – to give them a joyful perspective on life rather than a critical one. And even now, in the years of my life which my son has referred to as my “elder” years (he laughed boisterously when he said that!), my favorite expression to almost everyone I meet is, “Are we having fun yet?”

I heard the best rationale for having fun in life from Dr. Robert Morgan, a pastor in Nashville Tennessee.

Dr. Morgan once invited British pastor Geoffrey King to preach at his church. Reverend King, a tremendous preacher of the Word of God, was quite eccentric. He dressed peculiarly, had odd views on hygiene, and constantly had his host rolling in laughter without meaning to.

While in Nashville, King had two requests. He wanted to play all the organs in town and ride all the roller coasters he could.

So one day Morgan took him to Opryland theme park and, despite his age, he headed right to the big coaster. As they barreled down the first drop, King turned to his host and shouted, “Rob, Rob, never grow up! Remember that God has given us richly all things to enjoy!”

Morgan later commented that, “It was my one and only sermon on a roller coaster, but I’ve never forgotten it.”

In 1 Timothy 6:17 we read, “Instruct those who are rich in the present age not to be arrogant or to set their hope on the uncertainty of wealth, but on God, who richly provides us with all things to enjoy.”

This verse does not give us permission to wrongfully indulge our appetites, but it means that God has given a universe of blessings for our enjoyment and welfare. Happiness is not found in things, but in Him who helps us enjoy all things.

Jesus wants us to enjoy life more abundantly. He surrounds us with goodness and mercy every day of our lives, and from the fullness of His grace we have all received one blessing after another (John 10:10; Ps. 23:6; John 1:16).

When we learn to enjoy God, we get all other joys to boot! So we do not have to do as those teens did on that flight to the Bahamas, we can simply enjoy the flight, masks and all!

Oh, and by the way – Are we having fun yet?

God bless …

Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at [email protected]

Chuck Tabor

Contributing columnist