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.

Help—I’m Stuck!

“May he work perfection into every part of you, giving you all that you need to fulfill your destiny.” (Hebrews 13:21).

Have you ever been driving on the beach and gotten stuck in the sand? Or traveling in a winter storm and been stuck in the snow? Your wheels spin…and spin…and yet you stay in the same place. It’s frustrating.

Sometimes we feel that way about our lives. We try and try, but we stay in the same place. Maybe our long-held dream is still on hold. Maybe we’re in the same job, though we thought we would have been promoted by now. Maybe we have been praying the same prayer for months, or even years, but can’t see that we’re any closer to an answer. Maybe our ministry isn’t progressing as we hoped it would. And so we feel stuck.

But maybe we’re not stuck. Maybe we’re in training.

Consider David, the youngest of Jesse’s eight sons, the undervalued little brother who was given the menial job of watching the sheep.

When Samuel showed up to anoint one of Jesse’s sons, everyone was shocked when little brother David was selected to be the next king of Israel. Surely David must have thought his life was going to be different. But the next day he was back in the field watching the sheep. Historians believe that David spent two years watching sheep after he had been anointed king.

Day after day after day watching the sheep. Spinning his wheels, and seemingly getting nowhere. But David wasn’t stuck. He was in training.

God had some things to teach David during those two years. David learned how to care for and protect his father’s sheep. He learned to bravely fight and defeat any enemy that attacked the sheep. He learned to be faithful day in and day out. God hadn’t forgotten his purpose for David. David was destined to be king; God was just making sure David was ready.

David wasn’t the only one who went through a training time. Moses spent 40 years in the desert watching sheep before leading Israel out of bondage. Joseph spent ten years in prison before implementing a plan to save Egypt and Canaan in a time of famine. Jesus went directly from being baptized and set forth by the Father to 40 days in the desert with no company but the devil.

David, Moses, Joseph, and Jesus—all of them had a time when it looked as if they were stuck, but they were really being trained to fulfill the purpose God had planned for them.

Friend, it may look as if you’re stuck. You may be so stuck you think you hear tires spinning. But God hasn’t forgotten your purpose. He hasn’t left you. Waiting time is preparation time. Waiting is how you learn what you need to know to do what God called you to do.

When God develops character, he’s not in a hurry. God is patient. God makes sure we’re ready before he moves us into the next chapter of our story. Yes, often we’d like him to hurry, but he loves us enough to make sure we’re ready before moving us to the next phase. Because he loves us, we can trust him during the wait. And God’s purpose is totally worth the wait.

Dear God, I’m so thankful that you direct my steps. Even when I don’t understand your timing, I know your way is perfect and your purpose will happen. Help me be faithful in every season of my life, including times of waiting. Develop patience and trust in my spirit. Equip me to step into the plans you have for my future. Thank you for your wisdom and guidance. In Jesus’s name, amen.