Advice for when you’re stuck in the mud!

Jay, my son, bought himself a Jeep Wrangler when he was 19.  He took his sister ‘for a drive’ in his new vehicle and somehow decided that it was a good idea to attempt some “off-roading.”  He chose a trail that was not really for large vehicles; Mistake #1. Mistake #2 was over-estimating the ability of the Jeep to navigate a muddy hole. It is not hard for me to imagine Jay’s frustration and desperation as he gunned the engine and just dug in deeper!   The Jeep was soon buried to the axles.

Christine and Jay faced a long walk out of the woods and when they finally showed up that evening long ago, tired and muddy after their misadventure in the woods, I was relieved and aggravated. The next day, with help from a friend who knew the ‘woods’ well, the Jeep was recovered with great effort. That adventure is a memory we share, one of those family stories that we love to laugh about. Thankfully, he knew when to quit and go for help.

We all find ourselves stuck in the mud sometimes, don’t we?  We cruising through life, singing our songs, our self-confidence growing – and then –  we drive into a hole. Those bogs take many forms – sickness, business failure, relationships that get difficult, fear or uncertainty, doubt, temptation …. And we can get stuck!  We can thrash around, trying our best to dig out, only to find that all of that effort has done nothing but make the mudhole deeper.

The wise know when it is time to stop struggling – in a faith-filled way. I am not describing surrendering and resigning to hardship. I am not talking about waving the flag of defeat. There is great wisdom in knowing when to say, “I need help!”  It reveals maturity to know one’s limits and to be able to face personal places of weakness.

I am so thankful for the wonderful people who have come alongside of me over the years when I have become stuck in the mud!  During that time of awful depression in mid-life, there were allies who stood with me, pouring encouragement into my heart, reminding me of God’s goodness, praying with me when my own prayers were silenced.  When Bev, my late wife, was on her long journey with cancer, there were people who braved the sorrow and held us up on that pathway.

Then, too, we must remember to “look up” abandoning self-sufficiency as we seek the wisdom of the Spirit. We can, we must, ask for wisdom, pray for an infusion of courage, and faithfully trust Him to reveal the resources we need to get out of the hole.  That might seem to be oh so easy, but it’s not!  There is that thing called – pride.  Millions stay stuck refusing to admit, “I’m in over my head.”  Who wants to admit he can’t get himself out of the pit? Who wants to ‘let go and let God?’  We say it and it sounds good, but the doing is much, much harder.

Joshua, leading Israel in the conquest of Canaan knew a great victory at Jericho. Not long after his army was routed and defeated at Ai. As I read the prayer he prayed, I see a real man struggling in a mudhole.  “Ah, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!  O Lord, what can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies?”  (Joshua 7:7) There it is …  Panic! Blame! Loss of perspective!  But, God was faithful, revealed the sin of Achan to Joshua, and led Joshua to a new victory.

A few days after the Exodus, Moses, was stuck between the Red Sea and the army of Egypt.  After he prayed, he called on the people of Israel to “Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today. The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again. The Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” (Exodus 14:13-14, NLT)  Just stand still. This was not giving in to fate. This was resting in faith!  His admission that they could do nothing was paired with his faith in God’s promise to show the way. And He did. Only as the faithful and courageous Moses was willing to obediently do what God said, extending his staff over the sea, did the Lord open up the sea. The solution was amazing, unforeseen, and a lesson in greater faith.  

Is the mud flying, the hole getting deeper?
Is your desperation growing?

Give up! Look up!
Ask for help. There’s no shame in that.
And, my Christian friend, place yourself anew in the hands of God. Sometimes He changes our situation, sometimes He changes us.

Here’s a word from the Word. “God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, Even though the earth be removed, And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; ” (Psalm 46:1-2, NKJV)  “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Psalm 46:10, NKJV)

Lord I Need You

Lord I come I confess
Bowing here I find my rest
And without You I fall apart
You’re the one that guides my heart

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Where sin runs deep Your grace is more
Where grace is found is where You are
And where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me
Where You are Lord I am free
Holiness is Christ in me

So teach my song to rise to You
When temptation comes my way
And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay

And when I cannot stand I’ll fall on You
Jesus You’re my hope and stay

Lord I need You oh I need You
Ev’ry hour I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You
My one defense my righteousness
Oh God how I need You

Christy Nockels | Daniel Carson | Jesse Reeves | Kristian Stanfill | Matt Maher© 2011 sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

CCLI License # 810055

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: