This post really is a follow up to my previous one about Jury Duty.
The night before last I was driving the Thruway in the northwestern corner of New York State. I was on my way back to Saugerties where I had been the minister of a church for 19 years. I was tired. I had no confirmed reservation for a motel room. I had been on the road for over ten hours.
I spotted a sign which listed four motels at the next exit coming up in less than a mile. I quickly exited with a mix of fatigue and anticipation. This was going to be the area where I would rest for the night. I had pushed myself so I might be close enough to join my buddy for lunch the next day, but now I needed some sleep.
After I exited the Thruway, I discovered the motel was not there, but six miles south of it. Off I went, a little disappointed but sill hopeful. After ten more minutes, I reached the village. The Hampton Inn on my left looked familiar. I had stayed there years before. Too expensive. I kept going. I started leaving downtown and so turned back around and followed a road next to a lake. There was a Ramada Inn which also seemed too expensive. I stopped and turned on the GPS. It showed something a street behind me, but that looked too shady for me. I headed back to the Hampton Inn. The clerk smiled and said “we’re all booked.” I was shocked. “What is going on?”
I started feeling panic. “What am I going to do? I am too tired and I have no place to sleep!”
I remembered the feeling I had felt last month when I was on call for Jury Duty. I had to call in each night to see if I had to report the next day. I had felt a certain kind of mental freedom because I knew I had to surrender the next day to God and His wishes for me. I had to acknowledge I had no say whatever in what the next day would hold for me. I had to surrender complete control and it felt really good. I actually was able to thank God for the experience.
This night I decided to surrender the outcome to God as well. I was able to relax and do the next right thing. I calmly made my way (behind a slow semi) back to the Thruway and headed East. Within the next ten miles, I stopped for gasoline (price was outrageous so I only filled half the tank) and found a first floor motel room. I was amazed at how quickly my outlook had changed from one of panic to one of relaxing while getting ready for bed.
From this experience and being on call for Jury Duty, I am learning that surrendering my will to the Lord is a process that is maturing my elementary level faith. When I surrender an outcome, I feel quite free and open to whatever comes next.