One of our favorite places my wife and I like to visit is Kings Island. So to celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary, we made a trip up there last weekend.
On Saturday, we spent most of the day just checking out the surrounding area. Kings Island was closed for most of the day that day, so we were waiting until Sunday in order to get the full experience.
Then on Sunday morning, we stuffed ourselves with our hotel's continental breakfast, got dressed and then headed to the theme park not long after they opened their doors.
For as long as we've been going to Kings Island together, we've had a few favorite rides and attractions in the park that we absolutely can't leave without doing at least once.
Our favorite ride is the Diamondback roller coaster. At least for this year, it's the tallest and fastest coaster at Kings Island, and is probably my favorite roller coaster I've ever been on. Of course, I did want to point out that it is the tallest and fastest as of this year because next year Kings Island will be adding a new roller coaster that is supposed to be even taller and even faster.
Needless to say, we'll be making another trip within the next year or two in order to ride that one as well.
We also enjoy a couple of other roller coasters that aren't quite as tall or fast, but a lot of fun nonetheless.
The Racer is a very classic wooden roller coaster and is exactly what you would picture in your mind if you were to think of a classic looking coaster.
And then there's the Adventure Express which is another roller coaster that whips you around pretty quickly, but the best part is it takes you inside of a little temple that would remind you of a scene from Indiana Jones. As you move through that part, statues on both sides of you move their arms up and down, seemingly coming to life as your train passes by.
Another thrill ride we love that isn't a roller coaster is the Drop Tower Stunt Zone ride. It takes you straight up a tower that stands over 300 feet tall, and then drops you straight back down at 65 mph. The drop itself is pretty extreme, but it's really the 15-20 seconds you spend at the very top that is the real thrill of it. You're just hanging high up in the air, looking around to see all you can see, and just anxiously waiting for the plunge back to the earth.
If we need a break from all of that action though, we have one other favorite ride that isn't nearly as fast, although maybe just as scary if you're afraid of heights.
The Windseeker takes you up about as high as the Drop Tower does, but instead of just dropping you straight down, you're riding on a swing that goes around and around the whole time. You do get really high off the ground, but it's a nice, calm ride that gives you a little breeze while you view the park from high above.
Then last but certainly not least, the one thing we absolutely must do whenever we visit Kings Island is actually not even a ride at all. We cannot walk out of the park without enjoying at least one cone of their famous blue ice cream.
It's a soft-serve ice cream cone that is blue colored and tastes like blueberry, and it is probably my favorite ice cream in the world. It might sound a little weird if you're used to the typical vanilla and chocolate cones you find at fast food restaurants, and I was skeptical at first, but I absolutely love it and can't leave the park without having it at least once.
So as you might assume, we took in all of these favorite attractions last Sunday. But on this trip, we actually got to experience some of those rides more than once.
Typically, my wife and I visit Kings Island in the middle of the busy summer when families and students are on their summer vacations. That always meant we would have to wait at least 30-40 minutes to ride some of the more popular rides. Thus, it would take us all day if we wanted to squeeze in everything we really wanted to do.
However, since this Kings Island visit was on a Sunday in late September, the crowds were much smaller and there were hardly any lines at all. In fact, there were a few rides where there wasn't a line period.
And as you could imagine, we took full advantage of this by riding every ride we wanted to, even riding Diamondback four times and The Racer three times.
This was all certainly a nice surprise as the waiting part was just something we always accepted as part of the day. You wait and wait and wait, and then finally get your chance to hop on the ride. So we definitely enjoyed avoiding the long lines and pretty much being able to do whatever we wanted during our anniversary celebration at Kings Island.
As followers of Christ, the waiting game in our lives is something we've all had to get used to as well.
Oftentimes, we see our prayers answered right away. We feel thankful and blessed and can't wait to share with everyone else how God was listening to us and took care of us immediately.
Other times, though, we don't see the immediate answer to our prayers. We wait and wait and wait, and still fail to see anything change in our lives or any miracles happen. The longer it goes without an answer, the more the devil starts to whisper in our ears. We start to worry about whatever situation we're in and then the doubting of God and his power starts to creep in.
When we receive those immediate answers to our prayers, we are on Cloud 9, shouting "Hallelujah" and thanking God for what he did. But when we don't get those immediate answers, we start to wonder if God cares about us or if our circumstances just aren't that important to him.
We might even try to build our own wall of protection that will help lessen the pain if we think God really is ignoring us. We try to find some sort of safety net to fall into if God doesn't come through in the end.
But when you really start to spend time with God and when you really form a relationship with him, your attitude will change and you'll realize just how much he loves you. You will realize he knows all of the feelings deep down in your heart. You will have faith that God will take care of you when the time is right.
You will turn from anxiously waiting and worrying, to understanding all of God's promises he has made for us.
You will turn from feeling worthless and ignored, to remembering all of the many blessings God has already provided for you and will continue to provide.
Philippians 4:19 says, "But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
If you've asked God for answers but find yourself playing the waiting game far longer than you had planned, take a step back and just say "thank you" in advance for his answer. Trust that he is working on your behalf even if you don't see it right away. Look forward in hope and faith for him to respond, and remember the Lord is always good to those who seek him.