Some years ago, while our family was vacationing in northern Minnesota, we decided to visit a small county fair near the town of Babbitt. There weren’t many people there that morning. In fact, we were about the only ones visiting the carnival rides. So when I climbed into the Tilt-O-Wheel with my three kids, we hoped the operator would give us a decent ride—even though it was for just one father and three small kids.

Little did we know what we were getting involved in. The first few minutes were rather fun. We laughed and enjoyed the funny feeling inside our stomachs. But after a while, it got to be not so much fun. And after some more time—way past the length of an ordinary ride—I began to feel queasy.

I wanted to get out, but I couldn’t. First, we were going too fast to escape. Second, the centrifugal force had me pressed firmly against the back of the car. I was immobilized. Trapped. Every time we spun past the operator, I looked pleadingly at him. “Please! Read my eyes! I need to get off!” But the operator kept the ride going. I guess he thought he’d let it run until more customers showed up.

After another few minutes, the ride became miserable. The funny feeling inside my stomach had turned into a churning concoction that had a faint resemblance to my morning’s breakfast. I had no control over my life. I was caught, going around in circles, held down by a merciless carnival ride operator.

Only after what seemed like three or four hours did he finally relent and stop the ride. I’m sure I looked completely green by this time. I staggered off the platform and made it about 20 feet, where I bent over and lost my breakfast. Of course, my kids gathered around, cheering me on. They thought this was the best part of the ride.

If you’re caught in the grip of a diabolical ride that started out fun but has turned into an addiction—if you’re going around in circles, powerless to get off—you know the helpless feeling of losing control of your life. You know what it means to need God’s supernatural help to stop the ride so you can escape. You can’t stop it on your own.

[As told by Richard Doebler]

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