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James Watkins

I love roller coasters. I especially love Cedar Point’s “Millennium Force” It’s one of the longest, fastest, tallest coasters with the steepest drop. It soars to a height of 310 feet then it drops—along with your stomach—300-foot at 93 mph! So, when you consider you can wait in line three hours for a five-minute ride you have to be a die-hard roller-coaster lover.

But it’s a pretty good metaphor for life! Like the tallest, fastest roller coasters on earth, there’s always a very long wait and once you finally get in the “success” car, it’s filled with ups and down, highs and lows and more long waits in line. So, the best advice: Remain seated with arms and legs inside car at all times because it’s going to be a wild ride.

And we have no better precedent of the up and downs than Jesus Christ. His three-year “career” didn’t begin until age 30 and is roughly divided up by one year of obscurity, one year of popularity and one year of animosity. Today, fortunately, crucifixion is illegal in all 50 states but that fact doesn’t take away the excruciating pain of rejection and failure!

My first book came out in 1986, but it wasn’t until the turn of the century that I got picked up by major publishers, appeared on the national TV and radio shows, traveled internationally to Africa, Asia, Australia and throughout US of A, and appeared on the platform with the likes of Liz Curtis Higgs, Jerry Jenkins, Max Lucado, Francine Rivers and Philip Yancey.

But after a very brief time at 310 feet, I and my stomach went hurtling back to obscurity at 93 mph! The Bible describes those highs and lows in Isaiah 40:29-31:

    He gives power to the weak
    and strength to the powerless.
    Even youths will become weak and tired,
    and young men will fall in exhaustion.

    But those who trust in the Lord will find
    new strength.
    They will soar high on wings like eagles.
    They will run and not grow weary.
    They will walk and not faint (Isaiah 40:29-31).

Yes, there are times we “soar high on wings like eagles.” But we spend most of our time, as human beings firmly on the ground . . . walking. And walking is so . . . well, pedestrian.

And so, even if we have moments of soaring with eagles, most of the time, we’re on the ground walking with emus (a one-hundred pound cousin of the ostrich). But God is with us in the walking and running, as well as the soaring. And He gives us the strength to keep walking!

Jim will be sharing a keynote address called “Soaring with Eagles, Walking with Emus” at two writers’ conferences. Read the entire talk at jameswatkins.com.

For more hope and humor, visit jameswatkins.com

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