We were nearing our destination: Darien Lake Theme Park, in Darien Lake New York. Our purpose? To attend Kingdom Bound, the Christian music festival featured at the amusement park every August.
Or at least, that was THEIR destination. I was only along for the ride. Or the drive, if you prefer. You see, I was driving the van that towed our 10 ft. Tent trailer. We had spent the weekend camping at Taughannock Falls, near Ithaca, New York, and now I was towing the trailer to Darien Lake where, after briefly helping them set up camp, my husband would drive me back into Buffalo where I would pick up my car and head back home. I am not as much of a fan of music as they are, and besides, I had to work!
Excitement abounded in the back seat as the first of the roller coasters came into view. In just a few moments, our “best laid plans” would be rolling. Only one problem: Only those who had paid to participate in Kingdom Bound would be allowed into the campground. I, of course, had not paid. They would not let me in!
We tried all of our best arguments:
Argument #1: “I’m the only one who can park the trailer. I will just zip in, park the trailer, unhitch, and then I’ll be on my way!”
Response #1: “Sorry, but we can’t let you enter.”
Argument #2: “My husband can wait outside the gate for me, if you like! I’ll only be in the park for a few minutes!”
Response #2: “Sorry, but you can’t go in. You haven’t paid.”
Argument #3: “My husband really cannot back-up with the trailer! I have to be there or the trailer will end up in the middle of the road!”
Response #3: “Sorry, but we can’t let you enter.”
I bit my lip in bitter resolve as I crawled out of the driver’s seat and surrendered it to my visibly nervous husband. Being legally blind in one eye and having very little depth perception, he really did have valid reasons why he didn’t like to back-up with the trailer! But there were no other options, and I slowly turned my back on the van and its trailer, and made my way over to the side to wait.
My wait wasn’t exactly a “patient” one. You see, I had two problems, not just one. First of all, I was upset and worried about the parking of the trailer, and secondly, nature was calling, desperately, and there were no restrooms, and not even any bushes, in sight!
Walking provided a measure of relief for my cramping bladder, so I made my way down the long entranceway to the Darien Lake camping area, out to the main highway. The farther I walked, however, the more I allowed a lion of anger and frustration to grow in my heart. I had been expecting a miracle! Why hadn’t God come through? And then I began to think about how the campsite would likely look without me. Why, the boys would probably forget to put down the stabilizing feet of the trailer. And they wouldn’t see it necessary to put up the awning. And they would…
That’s when I remembered my walk with God earlier that same morning. Everyone else had still been asleep, and God had called me out onto the trails. I had followed the path from the campground down to the gorge, and my eyes had been drawn to one of the lower waterfalls. My mind quickly began to review what we had read the day before about how the gorge was constantly being formed by the water that rushed over the many cliffs, and it occurred to me that this year, which so far had been the rainiest summer on record, the gorge might be being formed a bit more quickly! That’s when I heard God’s voice: “Just as the rushing water is forming this gorge, I will form you! Sometimes you only allow a trickle of Me to work in you. Those are the times that you aren’t being reshaped quickly. Other times you allow Me to work to my near fullest on your heart. At those times, just like this gorge this year, your heart will be reformed much more quickly, into an image of me!”
I had cried at these words, and I now remembered my response: “Lord, flood my heart with Your Spirit! Reshape me-quickly!” Suddenly it occurred to me that God was doing just that! Somehow, being left stranded at the entrance to Darien Lake while my husband attempted to back the trailer into a campsite-somehow it was all part of the “water” that was rushing through my heart, reforming me into an image of Him!
But wait a minute! What was so wrong with me wanting to help out my husband by parking the trailer???
But God is so good. He answered my question immediately: “Do you not trust me to help HIM park the trailer? Are you so proud as to think that YOU are the only one who can learn to back the trailer onto a campsite? Do you not remember who helps YOU each time you do it? And don’t you trust me enough to help your boys remember the stabilizing feet? And the awning? And even if they don’t do everything the way you would want them to, don’t you trust me enough to make sure everything is okay?”
Ohhhhh! So this was what it was all about! Control! And suddenly it all became clear. Most of my problem had nothing to do with the fact that I was concerned for my husband and his ability to park the trailer. No. Most of my problem stemmed from the fact that I wanted to be in control of the camp! Even when I wasn’t going to stay there! I swallowed, and right there, on the grass bordering the entrance to the campground, I repented of my pride, and I relinquished control into the hands of the One who is ALWAYS in control.
And then I began to pray. I prayed for my husband, that God would give him the ability to park the trailer. I prayed for my boys, that they would be blessed by the concerts. Then I began to pray for the thousands of other people who were waiting in line to get into the campground, and I began to pray for the thousands of unsaved people, who would innocently be spending their day at Darien Lake over the next few days, that they would be touched, and as a result of Kingdom Bound 2008, thousands of hearts would be won for the Lord.
It’s amazing how the lion that had been raging in my heart suddenly shrunk into a house cat!
But there was still one little problem, one that was getting bigger by the minute: Nature was STILL calling: LOUDLY! “What am I going to do, Lord?” I cried. “There’s just no place to “go”!
“Give Me control,” was the reply.
I swallowed, half-ashamed that I hadn’t thought of this already: “Okay,” I said. “You are in control of my problem here!”
Over the course of the next few minutes, the urgency to “go” just vanished. Oh, I still knew that a restroom would be welcome, but there was no longer any dire emergency. And that sense of urgency didn’t return for 90 minutes, when I finally found myself in the proper place for such a problem!
I don’t suppose I need to tell you that the trailer parking incident went very well. My husband managed to back the trailer onto the site, and with the help of a kind neighbour, they were able to hand-push it where they wanted it to be. The stabilizers got put down, the trailer was levelled, the awning was put up, and my husband gained great confidence in his ability to tow. And all of this without me. God didn’t need me at all! He only needed me to relinquish control to Him.
Friends, is there a lion raging in your heart? Do you have a major problem? Are you upset because you can’t be in charge of something? Give it to God. Relinquish that control. Know that it will all come together without you, because you put God in charge!
“Come to me all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn of me, for I am meek and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your soul.” (Matt. 11:28-30)
(To access the entire “Control Freaks’ Senility” devotional series, please click here.)