Life is like a roller coaster? I've heard that statement before, but I don't think it's accurate. When people say "Life is like a roller coaster," what they mean is, it's got "ups and downs." But really, that's not a great analogy, because when you're riding a roller coaster, it's all thrills and excitement...and the "ups" are actually less thrilling than the "downs."
No, life is not like a roller coaster. It's like waiting in line for a roller coaster.
One of the boys in our youth group went out to Cedar Point last year, and rode on The Top Thrill Dragster, which is currently the second tallest roller coaster in the world.
"How long did you stand in line for the roller coaster, Josh? An hour? An hour and a half?"
"More like three hours."
"Wow. Was it worth the wait?"
Life is like that. While we are here on earth, for the few years that we have, we are simply waiting in line for the real excitement, which is our eternal life with God. And, unlike a roller coaster, that's a thrill which will never end.
This is a perspective very few people have. Most people think of this mortal existence as all that we have. But when we lose sight of what is waiting for us at the end of our mortal existence, we lose sight of purpose, and life becomes pointless.
Who would stand in line for three hours for a non-existent roller coaster? And if you found yourself stuck in a line with no ride at the end, and no way to get out of the line, what would you do? You would try your very hardest to convince yourself that you were having fun, that there was some point to you being there.
This is how most people approach life. Without the eternal view, we have to convince ourselves that we are having fun right now, and life has to be about squeezing every bit of enjoyment out of the now.
An eternal perspective on life is especially important when we face difficult times. The person who has no eternal perspective is bowed down and even broken by their circumstances. But the person who understands the perishable nature of this life and the imperishable nature of the life to come, can find strength to suffer through difficult times, knowing that their trials and troubles will come to an end...nothing of this world is intended to last forever.