Growing up in Brooklyn, New York, one of my childhood joys was going to the playground. Whether with friends, my younger sister, or our parents, I looked forward to fun on the concrete. The Swings, See-Saw and Slide were my favorites. Recently I was thinking that there could be a different meaning to these childhood activities when seen through spiritual eyes. Having a love for Science and English, I sought information about how these three playground instruments worked, and what analogy the Word of God would have.
Well, all of these are based on momentum and they are like life. They take us from high and low points and vice versa. There is a force that has to propel the person in the Swing from a lower point to a higher point or peak. If the person does not pump his/her legs fast and hard enough, air resistance and gravity will pull them down. This can be tiring after a while if done alone. So, there is less stress and effort when there is someone behind you who can push the swing (kinetic energy) through the air. Speed is stored, and while one does his/her part to pump their legs, momentum continues via the force that is helping. The Paraclete(Greek origin) and Ruach HaKodesh (Hebrew origin) are the names of the Holy Spirit, which Jesus left with us to stand beside and empower us. When we make an effort to swing in the direction as God wills us to go, then He will provide the strength for us to maintain the momentum when we grow weary (Phil 4:13). The Ruach (Hebrew for breath of God) is no match for any resistance in our environment; it will propel us forward each time we fall backward. Job 33:4.
Now a See-Saw also goes up and down, but unlike a Swing, it is a flat plank mounted on a stationary fulcrum in the middle. Balance is needed here. A child on one end of the See-Saw goes up by the force applied by the other child who has his or her feet planted on the ground. But as you know, initially they both have their feet on the ground at the same time.
Ecclesiastes 4:9 says, “…two are better than one…” As sisters and brothers in Christ, we are commanded to love God with our whole heart, mind, and soul, and love our neighbor as ourselves. In these days of see-sawing issues, when one of us is down, those who are able, can help the other up - whether physically, emotionally, or spiritually.
Finally, I’ll reflect on the playground and the Slide. The child climbs the steps to the top alone, and then sits on the declining platform, with a goal to slide down to reach the bottom or the ground. The friction from the body tends to slow the travel down (unless one is on a water slide, which lessens friction and makes the transition faster). When relationship friction or life resistance is preventing us from reaching our goals as fast as we would like, is it because we are choosing the wrong path? Or is the Spirit of God slowing us down because it is not in His timing? Or will His grace and mercy place us on a type of water slide preparing us for a smoother and faster arrival? As God’s child, He and His Word are the fulcrum that keeps us grounded; the platform that keeps us balanced, and His Spirit surrounds us to comfort us when we slide off the path and fall.
I don’t know about you, but I won’t look at children on these playground instruments quite the same again. Psalm 143:10 (NIV) says, “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground.”