Jesus in a Theme Park

The sun is setting as we walk along the gravel road to the theme park. People are passing us, smoke is filling the air as people finish up meals for the evening. There’s music in the distance, and finally, the cool air is filling the camp in place of the humid heat.

“So let’s talk about your day,” he says to me as we walk side by side.

I go through the boring list of things I did, and then in a moment of honesty, out tumbles a piece of my heart. “I think I need an adventure,” I say, thoughtfully, and then as in most moments of bravery, I push through any hesitations. “I don’t know. Change is hard … but I am craving it. And I don’t know that that means, or why that is. Do I find adventure in my normalcy? Or do I take a risk?”

He’s thoughtful as he answers. “I think that makes sense. Taking risk and making mistakes is part of being human … and part of being a Christian. It’s how we learn and grow.”

There’s other thoughts slipped into our conversation, as we pass a brightly coloured roller coaster and make our way down a winding path. It’s funny – the moments that you choose to be vulnerable, sometimes it’s hard to stop.

“I think I’m holding back,” I say to him, as the bright lights of a terrifying ride greet us at a turn in the path. “It’s like, I don’t really know how to let myself need God. I know I need Him – but I just feel guilty for it. I feel bad that I can’t figure anything out, and I can’t figure out how God would want a girl like me who doesn’t really have anything to offer.”

There’s silence in the conversation as he holds what I’ve said in his hands, and I’m thankful for the silence. Sometimes silence is better than wasted words.

He opens his mouth to speak, then closes it. Finally, he says, “Do you think that you are craving adventure because really you want to be in a place where you absolutely need Him? Because when everything’s new, you can’t do it on your own?”

The crowd heading into the concert is getting thicker as we near our destination. But the noise and crowd isn’t what I’m focusing on: mostly, I am amazed that someone who was a stranger just 48 hours before has taken a few pieces of my brokenness and given me some Hope in its place.

That’s the thing I am learning lately. Sometimes we need to jump into conversations with new friends, and take the risks in the unfamiliar and we find what we’ve been looking for all along.

“Just keep loving others and loving Jesus,” he says as we near the gate. “And you’ll figure it out.”

And that’s just it: sometimes it really is that simple. Sometimes Jesus is found in a church service, and sometimes He’s found in the ebb and flow of a conversation with a new friend. Sometimes He’s found in the silence of a forest, and other days He’s found in the chaos of a theme park.

But keep looking for Him. I promise He’ll find you when you least expect it but just when you need it the most.