The tallest roller coaster in the world is in Six Flags Great Adventure, Jackson, New Jersey. It is 456 feet/139 meters high with a maximum drop of 418 feet/127 meters and a maximum speed of 128 mph or 206 km/h. There are thrills on roller coaster rides associated with the ups and downs and twists and turns. Your body has dramatic forces exerted on it that is exhilarating for many but not all. What seems like an extreme experience occurs in a relatively safe environment.

Life can seem like a roller coaster ride. We go through dramatic circumstances that are often out of our control. Sometimes the ups and downs are the result of our own actions and decisions. How do we handle the feelings of euphoria when we seem to be on top of the world? Perhaps more importantly, how do we deal with the low points that inevitably invade our life?

The book of Judges in the Old Testament gives an account of the nation of Israel from the time that they entered their Land of Promise until they were given a king to rule over them. During this time from approximately 1300-1000 B.C., the people of Israel went through a recurring cycle of being disobedient to God, suffering oppression from neighboring countries, turning back to God, and God delivering them from their troubles. This occurs 5 times during this period. The third time this occurs concerns a man named Gideon.

Word List

  • mph – miles per hour
  • km/h – kilometers per hour
  • exhilarating – sudden excitement
  • relatively – a comparison to something else
  • euphoria – feeling of perfect happiness
    “on top of the world” – an idiom meaning your life is going well and you feel great
  • inevitably – something out of your control that will happen in the future
  • Land of Promise – the place where God guided the children of Israel to live a long time ago ~ current day Israel

Bible Reading: Judges 6-7

In Judges chapter 6 the people of Israel once again turned away from God and disobeyed Him. God allowed the Midianites to oppress the Israelites for seven years before they cried out to God to deliver them. God called Gideon to lead Israel to freedom. In chapter 7 Gideon first led the people of Israel to turn back to God in obedience and then led them in battle against the Midianites. This battle is famous in that Gideon’s army was 300 men against a much larger army to show that it was not by their own strength but by God’s strength that they were able to regain their freedom and enjoy a period of peace.

We are like the Israelites. When everything is going well, we may feel we don’t need God or anyone else. When we are down, God can use those times to get our attention.


    1. How do you think life can be like a roller coaster?
    2. How can our feelings change depending on our situation?
    3. Are you generally an optimist or a pessimist?
    4. What do you think this quote means?
      “God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” ~ C.S. Lewis

    May we turn to God in our good times and bad for peace and stability because they both will come upon us.

    Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
    Matthew 11:28

Word List

  • Israel ~ Israelites – the nation of the Jewish people of the Bible; modern Israel was established as a sovereign Jewish nation on May 14, 1948 following World War II
  • oppress – unjust treatment or control
  • optimist – hopeful and confident for the future
  • pessimist – worry about the future
  • quote – exact words from a specific person
  • megaphone – used to amplify your voice usually to give instructions or to make important announcements
  • rouse – awaken; to bring out of sleep
  • deaf – someone who does not hear
  • heavy laden – to carry a heavy burden