National Roller Coaster Day | JOY for Today

(Updated 8.10.2023)

Joy arrives in a surge of adrenaline as you plummet toward the bottom of a fall and resounds in the "Let's do it again!" cheer at the ride's end. While scary for some, roller coasters remind us that surrendering control can be thrilling. 

A yellow roller coaster with blue legs and a car full of passengers zooming around a twist. Text overlay reads: "'My life is in your hands.; Psalm 31:15 NCV; National Roller Coaster Day; August 16th Annually."
Roller Coaster by Paul Brennan via Public Domain Pictures

Roller Coaster Options:

Did You Know:

  1. Roller coasters originated in 17th century Russia? These carefully constructed hills of ice were ridden with a sled. Catherine II even had a few constructed on her property. (Roller Coaster Museum)
  2. The first real roller coaster was built in either Russia or France? The Russian roller coaster was built in St. Petersburg, while the French coaster was built in Paris. Both of these coasters featured secured wheeled carts with guide rails for year-round use. (Roller Coaster Museum)
  3. La Marcus Thompson, aka "The Father of the Roller Coaster," was not the switchback coaster's inventor? While Thompson was successful at promoting and improving roller coaster designs, the first switchback coaster patent is credited to John G. Taylor. (Roller Coaster Museum)
  4. The Mauch Chunk Switch Back Railway inspired United States' roller coasters? This animal-powered gravity railway transported coal, mules, and passengers (at 75 cents each) nine miles along the Pennsylvania mountains overlooking the Lehigh River valley. (The Morning Call)
  5. The Coney Island Switchback Railway cost 5 cents to ride? Today, while the Switchback Railway (inspired by the Mauch Chunk and built by Thompson) is no longer in operation, you can buy a wristband for four-hour unlimited ride access for $62 to all the rides - 33 in varying thrill levels - in Coney Island's Luna Park. (Theme Park Insider and Luna Park)

We'd Love to Know:

Which fact most interests you?

Wolfe Stew Connects

What type of roller coaster rider are you: 
  1. the "I can't get enough" type, 
  2. the "they can be fun but I'm not going to seek them out" type, 
  3. the "I'll ride it but I'm screaming the whole way through it" type, or 
  4. the "I avoid them at all costs" type?
No matter the type of rider you are, one thing we can agree on about roller coasters is that once you're on, you're on. No matter how much you scream, plead, or vomit you are staying on that roller coaster to the end. Roller coasters mean commitment.

So, before you commit, you need to know some things. Do I want to do this? Is it a good choice for me? Is it worth the risk? Do I trust the people I'm with to care for me if it doesn't go so well? You are, after all, willingly subjecting yourself to potentially dangerous situations and hoping to get enjoyment from doing so. The commitment to ride takes consideration.

It sounds a lot like life to me - carefully weighing out our decisions without truly knowing the outcome. We reach the top only to rapidly plummet to the bottom. We experience periods of easy-going scenic relaxation followed by unexpected jolting turns. The difference is, we don't get to choose whether we ride; we're given a seat at birth. 

In The CarouselRichard Paul Evans asks:
If we knew what life would bring us, do you think we'd still buy the ticket? 
It depends. How well do you know the Creator? The Operator? Do you trust His safety record?

The most reassuring thing about roller coasters is the seat that holds you in, that taut buckle that secures you. No matter what happens on the ride, you know you're not going anywhere - that seat will keep you safe. 

That seat, Friends, is God. In every twist, drop, or breakdown life throws at you, God has you. He's holding you in His hands (Psalm 31:15). He personally attends to your safety. In Him, I know I'm safe.  

Whether we understand and accept it or not, we are all on a roller coaster of God 's design:
A man's heart deviseth his way: but the Lord directeth his steps. Proverbs 16:9 KJV  
In the end, God's way will endure (Psalm 33:11) but along the way I can choose to enjoy the ride by believing in His supreme design, trusting in His matchless wisdom, submitting to His loving leadership, and acknowledging His untarnished faithfulness. He knows where I'm going; He prepared it for me. Sure, this life is a wild ride, but it will end in JOY unspeakable. 

I'd buy that ticket.

Would you? 

If you're not sure, I encourage you to seek God. Get to know Your Creator even better. Work on learning to trust The Operator of Life. If you don't know where to start, we suggest prayer. Prayer is seeking God through conversation with Him. In August, we are focusing on GROWING in prayer. Each day we offer short, but impactful, prayer-focused, Bible-based exercises and we'd love for you to join us, Warrior. This week, we'll be looking at David's prayer of repentance - a prayer that acts as a switch to get us back on the right track. Take your next step: speak with The Operator today.

We'd Love to Know:

Which type - 1, 2, 3, or 4 - of roller coaster rider are you? (I'm the second and the Mr. is the third.)

Roller Coaster Inspired Bible Verses and Quotes


  • "My life is in your hands. Save me from my enemies and from those who are chasing me."  Psalm 31:15 NCV
  • "But you don't have a clue what tomorrow may bring. For your fleeting life is but a warm breath of air that is visible in the cold only for a moment and then vanishes!" James 4:14 TPT
  • "And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father has put under his authority only." Acts 1:7 JUB
  • "So will you also pass through a time of intense sorrow when I am taken from you, but you will see me again! And then your hearts will burst with joy, with no one being able to take it from you." John 16:22 TPT
  • "You allowed us to be conquered and let our enemies run over us. We journeyed through dangers, through fire and flood, But You led us finally to a safe place, a land rich and abundant." Psalms 66:12 VOICE


  • "This life is like a roller-coaster; once you are strapped-in and the ride has started, you aren't getting off." - Bryant McGill
  • "Life is a house of cards. Balanced on a tetter-totter, precariously perched on a roller coaster. The only thing that should surprise us about our surprises is that we are surprised by them." - Richard Paul Evans (Promise Me)
  • "Stay in your seat come times of trouble. It's only people who jump off the roller coaster who get hurt." - Paul Harvey
  • "If you spent the entire roller coaster ride thinking 'only so many seconds left until this ride is over,' then what was the point of riding it in the first place?'" - Takehiko Inoue
  • "Part of the answer to the question that life's roller-coaster ride repeatedly raises, why has this happened to me? is always: it is moral training and discipline, planned by my Heavenly Father to help me forward along the path of Christlike virtue. - J. I. Packer

We'd Love to Know:

Which verse or quote best reflects your opinion of roller coasters?

Roller Coaster Activity Suggestions

Get ready to scream, dream, and have a blast!

Our Nephew's Suggestion:

"Go on one! Or don't if you're scared. Or just go to an amusement park."
With fairs popping up all over the country, going to a county fair might be the ideal solution to this suggestion. Otherwise, check out Parade's round-up of the best amusement parks in every state.

Our Suggestions:


Would You Rather...

  • Ride a roller coaster with lots of drops or turns?
  • Go on a dragon or space themed roller coaster?
  • Ride a roller coaster or go down a water slide?

Family Challenge

Talk about the twists and turns, drops and lifts of life. What helps you get through them?

We'd Love to Know: 

What roller coaster activity you would do.

We’re excited to share one more day with you and wish you JOY for Today and HOPE for Tomorrow. Come back next week for...Speak Kind Words Saturday!

Fighting the Good Fight with You,

Red stew bowl with steam rising from top. Wolfe Stew crawled on front.

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