Have you ever been stuck? I’m usually good at getting out of tough situations, but sometimes I can’t. I’ve had my car stuck in a swampy ditch in Louisiana and a couple of times on the edge of a snowy road in Iowa, not counting breakdowns. When I was in elementary school, my brother and I were exploring a construction site near our home and both ended up at the bottom of a 7 foot hole trying to reach the top. Getting stuck is humbling. There are lots of places we can find ourselves stuck in life, and we can either resign ourselves to staying there forever, look for new ways to get out, or ask for help. In each of the above situations, I had to find someone else to help me, as I was unable to get out on my own. In the last case, my brother climbed my back to reach the edge, then reached down a hand to pull me out. When you find yourself stuck somewhere in life, what is your first reaction?
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. Psalm 40:1-2
The past few months, I have been setting a live trap to catch a groundhog I have seen running around our home. So far, I have caught 2 cats, 2 possum, and 2 raccoons, who are now all relocated to better homes. One raccoon tore up the carpet covering, dug up dirt, made a nest and seemed to have resigned itself to making the best of its live in the cage. Do you know any people like that? They won’t admit they need help, and seem somehow comfortable in the mess of life in which they find themselves. Maybe they have given up hope of ever changing their situation. Have you ever been there?
We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped! Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 124:7-8
Whether you are a raccoon, or a prideful young man, most of us never intend to end up stuck in our lives, but at some point, it may happen. There are many traps set for us as we journey through life, but knowing what they look like and staying clear of them is the best way to avoid getting caught. Some problems in life can hit us out of the blue, but most follow a series of poor choices on our part. Just read through Proverbs to get a few clues to the traps inherent in pride, lust, laziness, selfishness, and greed, among others. Often, pride keeps us from seeing our own vulnerabilities as we say ‘that will never happen to me.’ But none of us are fireproof.
Whoever digs a pit will fall into it, and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling. A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth works ruin. Proverbs 26:27-28
When you are playing around a trap, it is best to get away from it, as the more you play with fire, the more likely you are to be burned. It is best to have regular counsel with trusted friends who may be able to see things you can’t and keep you from any major mistakes. When you get stuck, and you will, these same friends will be there to help you out when the need is there. First and last should always be your direct line to God. Don’t hesitate to call out to him, no matter how small or big a predicament in which you find yourself. He may even keep you from unforeseen pitfalls in live, though you may never know how many.
Courage in Christ,