Stuck in the Muck
"He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand." Psalm 40:2 (NIV)
After several cold rainy days in October, the clouds parted and the sun came out. Tired of being cooped up, we seized the moment and met up with a few friends at a small petting zoo. The sunny morning was exactly what my son Jackson and I needed.
When his naptime approached, we were having such a good time that I decided to linger a little longer. Then the rain reappeared and poured on our playdate.
I said my goodbyes and marched across the now freshly soggy farm to where Jackson was playing. "It’s time to go, buddy," I said, reaching out for his hand.
"I don’t waaaaaant to goooooo!" he whined, walking backwards out of my reach.
"I know," I empathized. "It’s hard to leave fun places."
"Nooooooo! I STAYYY!" my now overly tired toddler yelled, turning to run from me. I quickly scooped him up and carried him across the petting zoo as he screamed and kicked his muddy shoes all over me.
"Stand right there," I firmly ordered, setting him next to the car and reaching inside for the baby wipes. When I turned around to clean him off, he was running like an escaped convict through the parking lot.
My sharp-eyed, fast-footed 2-year-old was running toward a back entrance to the zoo. In hot pursuit, I followed. But by the time I made it through the gate, he’d positioned himself on the opposite side of an empty, muddy horse pen.
Across the rusty red bars, he was staring me down with the iron will of a … well, of a defiant, exhausted toddler.
I darted to the right to grab him. He matched my steps. I slowly paced to the left. Across the pen, keeping steady eye contact with me, and like a cowboy ready for a draw, he paced with me. After a few rounds of this, I realized: checkmate. He had me. I could not get to him. Unless …
I could make him fall.
I walked to the left, and he followed my lead straight into a muddy patch. His pace slowed as his boots sunk down into the muck. I quickly moved to the right. He did too, but his boots didn’t follow, and he fell right into my muddy trap. His strong-willed defiance quickly turned to a whimpering plea for his mommy.
I wonder how often God feels like this with us. He simply wants to get us on the road to a safe place for nourishment and rest, while we jet off in our own direction, sure of something better.
Does He, in His love, let us fall into a muddy puddle so we can feel the discomfort of life without Him?
Isn’t it true that when we find ourselves stuck in the muck of life, we long more deeply for God’s loving arms to come and take our hands and lead us out? We cry out,"Daddy, I need You. Please pull me out of this mess!"
I imagine He gives the same knowing smile I did when my son, laying face up in the mud, finally cried out for me. He kneels down and as we see in Psalm 40:2, lifts us out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire — our muddy boots dangling from our safe perch in His arms — and whispers, "I’m here love, been here all along. I’ve just been waiting for you to ask. Now let’s get you cleaned up." Then He sets us on solid ground, giving us a firm place to stand.
Heavenly Father, I pray that I would trust and obey Your lead in the good times and in the times when I feel like I’m sinking into the mud and mire of life. I truly believe God, that Your way is better, Your way leads to a fuller, deeper, more nourishing life. Help me to stop running from You and instead run toward Your loving embrace. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Psalm 25:4-5, "Show me your ways, LORD, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long." (NIV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
If you’re wondering where God is in your muddy mess, ask yourself if you’ve stopped running in your own direction yet and then cry out for God to show you His way.
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