Handling Life's Problems

Refuse to Stay Stuck

“He lifted me out of the pit of destruction, out of the sticky mud. He stood me on a rock and made my feet steady.” (Psalm 40:2)

In his book, Victory in Spiritual Warfare, Dr. Tony Evans relates the story of being trapped in an elevator between floors in a high-rise building. It’s easy to imagine the fear and panic that could result from being stuck in an elevator. Dr. Evans said, “When it happened, some started crying, some yelled for help, and some started banging hard on the door.”

Maybe you’ve never been stuck in an elevator, but you may be stuck in some area of your life right now. Let’s stop for a minute here and define what we mean when we say, “stuck.” Being stuck doesn’t mean having a routine. If we put our keys in the same place every night, that’s a helpful routine. If we’ve had the same job for many years, we may tire of it, but that’s not being stuck—that’s a blessing.

Being stuck is when thinking of a past wound still causes sharp pain and thinking of the one who inflicted it still makes us angry. That’s being stuck in unforgiveness.

Being stuck is when we’ve promised ourselves a dozen times to stop looking at inappropriate websites, but we still pull them up. That’s being stuck in lust.

The examples could go on and on. Being stuck is when any destructive or negative habit, emotion, or action becomes a repetitive pattern and we feel unable to control it and move past it. It’s when feelings of hopelessness and helplessness cause us to believe we will never be victorious—that we will always be angry. Always be addicted. Always fail. Always hurt others.

Like those stuck in the elevator, we may try ineffective ways of getting ourselves unstuck, and find no success. Banging on the door would never cause the elevator to start working again. Neither would crying or shouting. Those trapped in the elevator needed help from outside.

To accept being stuck in an elevator as their new, normal life would be ridiculous. Psalm 30:5 tells us that, “…weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”

We aren’t meant to be stuck in the mess; we’re meant to travel through it to the other side.

Dr. Evans noticed a telephone in the elevator. He picked it up, and someone answered. He told the person that he was stuck in the elevator. They sent help, and the people who once were trapped moved out of the elevator and moved on with their lives.

Friend, when we’re stuck, we’re stagnant. Being stuck prevents forward movement. Satan would love to keep us stuck but God wants to set us free. God wants to take us from where we are to the other side, the place where we grow, minister, and walk in freedom. Our own efforts may not be enough to free us, but just as Dr. Evans called for help in the elevator, we can call out to the one who can help us.

Refuse to accept being stuck. Call out to God for the help you need. Reach out to brothers and sisters in the Lord who can support you. Saturate your soul in God’s word. You’re not meant to be stuck. Take a step toward freedom. You won’t take that step alone—God will meet you there.

Dear God, I have struggled with my problems far too long. I’ve almost stopped believing that change is possible for me. I don’t want to be stuck and stagnant any longer. I want to be free and move forward. My efforts to fix this myself haven’t worked. I turn this situation over to you. Help me move from where I am to where you want me to be. Take me to the other side. I rely on your strength, your mercy, and your love. In Jesus’s name, amen.

The Power of Words

Cry Out

“So he began shouting, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’ ‘Be quiet!’ the people in front yelled at him. But he only shouted louder, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’” (Luke 18:35-38)

Bartimaeus had a problem–he was blind. When Jesus came through town, Bartimaeus shouted out for help. When the crowd tried to hush him, he only cried out louder. Would he have received his healing if he had been silent? We don’t know for sure, but we do know that Jesus responded when Bartimaeus called out for help.

There’s a time to be quiet. Looking for a book in a library is a time to be quiet. Librarians have hushed many a noisy patron. However, if the library is on fire, we wouldn’t be quiet. If the library was on fire, we wouldn’t hesitate to shout out for help, but when our lives are “on fire,” we try to hide it and make sure no one sees our weakness or our vulnerability.

There are times when we are faced with situations requiring help. In those times, it’s important to speak up, shout it out if necessary, and get the help we need.

Here are three times when we may need to speak up and seek help:

  • Speak up for our hearts. Many times, heart issues spring from wounds, abuse, or other deep-seated causes. Some examples: Anger that leads to words or actions that harm others; contempt for groups of people who differ from us by race, socioeconomic status, or religious beliefs; and persistent depression or anxiety. Any time we face heart issues we can’t handle on our own, it’s time to cry out for help.
  • Speak up for our homes. Our families are so important to us, but often can be one of our greatest challenges. When a marriage is in trouble or children are headed down a dangerous path, don’t give up without crying out for help. If there’s one thing on earth worth fighting for, it’s our families.
  • Speak up for our hope. When we feel desolate or hopeless on our journey, it’s time to cry out for help. If we feel alone, if we are struggling with our health, if we have lost a loved one—any time the road seems too hard to walk alone, reach out for help. We must not let the weight of our burdens cause us to fall instead of allowing others to help us shoulder the load.

So, how do we cry out for help? First, we cry out to God in prayer and worship. He is our rescuer and our most important resource. Psalm 34:6 says, “When I had nothing, desperate and defeated, I cried out to the Lord and he heard me, bringing his miracle-deliverance when I needed it most.”

Second, reach out to others. Find someone trustworthy—a friend, someone at your church, or a family member—and let them know the situation. Ecclesiastes 4:12 says, “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer…”

Third, when we have a serious need, we must seriously consider consulting a Christian counselor. Proverbs 19:20 says, “Listen well to wise counsel and be willing to learn…” Sometimes, a wise voice from outside our situations can make all the difference.

In times of trouble, don’t be silent. Speak up and cry out to find the help you need.

Dear Lord, in every situation and every need, I cry out to you for help. Your lovingkindness and great mercy are constantly with me. Lord, I know there may be times when I need to ask for help. Give me wisdom to recognize those times, and the courage and humility to ask for help. When I face problems in my heart, my family, or my journey, let me not be silent, but let me cry out until I find the help I need. In Jesus’s name, amen.