God's Ferris Wheel is not ridden by choice. It is part of God's design and has purpose and necessity written all over it so enjoy the ride.

Tony Loeffler
Tony Loeffler

When was the last time you went on a Ferris Wheel? Do you remember that very first experience? How about those funny feelings in the pit of your stomach or wondering if your feet would ever get back on the ground safely.

My very first Ferris Wheel ride seemed to be the biggest of my life and little did I know that over the years they would make these rides bigger and bigger. I don't remember my exact age at the time of this first ride but one thing I do remember is that even some adults were afraid of that Ferris Wheel.

Well guess what? When you decide to walk with the Lord Jesus Christ and commit to a life of faith, you can expect much of the same. Ferris Wheel after Ferris Wheel after Ferris Wheel and each one will stir up those feelings in the pit of your stomach. It is an exciting ride and worth the experience in the end. Welcome to "God's Ferris Wheel."

Each ride can be scary at times and filled with great uncertainty. I can remember a time when our only son, Anthony Jr., was suddenly ill. He was only two and a half at the time and nearly died in the hospital. My wife, Mary Ann, was pregnant and had to stay home watching our daughter while we made the trip to the hospital.

It all started when Anthony was having some problems breathing late in the evening and his condition continued to get worse. So, off to the hospital we went to have him checked out. Never did I expect this to be such a challenging ride on God's Ferris Wheel. As a matter of fact, I never knew that such a thing existed. That would come much later in life. Had I known, I surely wouldn't have chosen this ride.

When we arrived at the hospital, Anthony was having more and more difficulty breathing and within minutes of being in the emergency room he stopped breathing. I watched in total amazement while the doctors tried to assist him. Everything was moving so fast, code nine was being shouted, everyone seemed hopeless and within seconds I was ushered out of the area.

No one had to say a word to me. I knew this was the real deal. I could tell instantly that this was serious. This was going to be a deep swim and I wanted no part of it but didn't seem to have a choice. It would only be in retrospect that I would realize how valuable experiences like this would be in my life.

When I got out to the lobby, the first thing I did was telephone my wife and said, "Pray, something serious has happened to Anthony and I don't know if he is alive or dead." I am sure she was on that same ride as of that moment. The only thing different about this ride and the one I was on as a child is that this one was much scarier.

The last sight I remember seeing is my little boy looking at me directly in the eye just before he stopped breathing as though he were saying, "Dad, aren't you going to help me, I can't breathe?" I felt so helpless and the doctors seemed to experience similar feelings as this all occurred in a matter of seconds.

Here we were on one of the rides of our lives and didn't know how the end was going to work out. Would we survive this ride or what? That evening I called Angelo and Millie from the hospital to ask them to pray for us. They were our bible study leaders at that time. Angelo came quickly to the hospital to pray with me and offer me some encouragement but the only thing I wanted to know was what happened to my son.

The last sight I remember having was Anthony stopping breathing and turning blue right before my eyes in a matter of seconds. Things happened so fast that I didn't even have time to think, "What is with God and what pleasure would He have in something like this?" Sometime later in life, I would realize that these rides were a part of a continuum of "God's Ferris Wheel."

As these rides continued over the years, my foolish thinking would fade away into the sunset of God's grace and I would never be the same again. Needless to say, I was more and more thankful for the experiences as I began to understand a little about God's Ferris Wheel.

In the book of 2 Corinthians, Chapter 1, verses 3 through 9, you can get a panoramic view of "God's Ferris Wheel". No matter how uncomfortable the ride or how scared you may be, this is part of the experience of anyone who is willing to live a life of faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ. It is essential! It is part of the package!

The first thing to notice is that in verse three it refers to the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles. Well, I have to admit that there seemed to be no comfort available when I was in that emergency room with my son. Where was this God of all comfort then and what was this all about? That was the extent of my thoughts. Obviously, He was there all the time turning His Ferris Wheel.