Between a Rock and a Hard Place


Do you feel stuck without a solution? Maybe you have an opportunity to experience God in ways you've never dreamed possible.

My heart broke this week as I sat across the table from a friend who poured out the details of what seemed like an impossible situation.  Her job was fast becoming more and more intolerable and despite her attempts to find a new one, God hadn’t opened the door for an escape route. She was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Unfortunately she’s not alone.  Life often brings us to places of limitation where we find ourselves crying out to God, “Help! I’m stuck and I can’t move on.”

As my friend shared her story I wanted to scream, “Just quit!” Thankfully I filtered my response and instead said, “God has a way of bringing us to what seems like insurmountable obstacles like the Red Sea or the Jordan River. Sometimes He parts the way without us doing anything, like He did at the Red Sea. Other times He requires us to make the first move, like He did at the Jordan River when He told the Israelites to step into the water before He parted it.  I encouraged her to get her feet wet and trust God to provide her solution.

After our meeting I started thinking about the places in my own life when I have felt stuck, and how trite my counsel to her might have sounded. It’s often not easy to just move on when an army of problems are seeking to kill your joy and you are facing an insurmountable obstacle.

This morning I decided to read the story of the Israelites as they fled from Egypt only to find themselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. In rereading it, I noticed a few details I had forgotten.

First I hadn’t remembered the emotions they experienced in their plight. With Pharaoh’s army breathing down their necks and the Red Sea opposing their path they cried out, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die?” (Exodus 14:11). Their desperation reminded me of what I heard in my friend’s voice, and one I too have felt from time to time. Secondly I had forgotten God’s twofold response, “Why are you crying out to me? Tell the Israelites to move on.”  (Exodus 14:15). They had to move on.

When we feel stuck between a rock and a hard place it’s a perfect setup for God to show up in big ways. But we can’t miss that God often requires us to engage our faith before He parts the water.  Whether it’s putting an end to our crying, moving on when we can’t see our solution, or getting our feet wet, we miss His miracles when we remain focused on the impossibility of our situation.

Do you feel stuck without a solution? Maybe it’s a setup for you to experience God in ways you've never dreamed possible. Remember, the Israelites never dreamed the water would part for them. I wonder what God has in store for you that you’ve never dreamed of.

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