Earlier today Blackpool Pleasure Beach opened its new £16 million rollercoaster to the public. Called ‘Icon’, this smooth but exhilarating ride has been five years in the planning. It is the UK’s first ever double-launch roller coaster, and has a top speed of 50 mph, with the same levels of G-force as those felt by a Formula 1 driver. It was the idea of Amanda Thompson OBE, managing director of Blackpool Pleasure Beach, following an unusual dream involving cherry blossom trees.
Six weeks ago, and in total contrast to Icon’s high-speed twists and turns, I went for a trip on a horse-drawn canal boat from Llangollen Wharf in North Wales. It was a truly amazing experience. Travel for me has normally been accompanied by the sound of an engine, but on this occasion everything was quiet. With no waves or currents, and definitely no potholes or bumps in the road, we glided smoothly and silently past quaint riverside homes, local wildlife and green fields. As the company’s website says, this horse-drawn trip allows you “to relax and unwind – perfect as a gentle start or soothing end to your day, or as a moment of peace in the middle of a hectic one.”
How wonderful life would be if it was as smooth and trouble-free as that time on the canal, but as we all know, this world isn’t like that. Unfortunately many of us make life hard for ourselves. We want to live life our way, on our terms; we want to be in control of our own destiny. In other words, we want to replace the horse and pull the boat ourselves wherever we want to go. This can lead to frustration, because what we at first thought would make us happy, we later find isn’t always plain sailing, and often leaves us feeling unfulfilled.
But there is another way. Our Creator offers us the opportunity to journey through life in His boat, where He is the One who takes the strain. Life does have its ups and downs – locks to navigate on our earthly journey – but when we humbly admit that we don’t have all the answers, and allow Him to lead the way, we find, perhaps surprisingly, that He knows a thing or two about life, and even in the hard times, He is working for our good. Knowing Jesus is in control sets us free to play our part as we leave the rest to Him. It is only then that we can relax and unwind, experiencing His peace in the midst of our wayward world.
Abundant peace belongs to those who love your instruction; nothing makes them stumble.
Psalm 119:165 (CSB)