Have you ever gotten your car stuck in mud or snow? It’s not a good feeling. It’s happened to me a few times in my life, but the one that stands out in my memory is when I got stuck in someone’s yard after a pastoral visit. Something like that can be a real test of your humility – you’ve made your visit as their pastor, you’ve solemnly prayed with them, then a few minutes later, you’re helplessly spinning your car tires in their yard! How many times do you try on your own to get unstuck, before you go back and knock on the door and ask for help? You came to leave them with hope and a prayer, not a muddy rut in their grass!
Thankfully, I knew enough to look for something to lodge under a tire, and I found a small broken tree branch to do the trick. What a relief it was when my car finally eased out of its muddy trap! During all this time, the young couple inside the house never came out. Maybe they were unaware of what was happening (I hoped so!), or maybe they were giving me a chance to get out on my own in order to preserve my dignity. I did follow up later with an apology, to say I’d had a bit of trouble and hoped I’d not done too much damage to the grass.
When we get stuck in the mud or the snow, we know we’re stuck. It’s obvious that we’re either going to have to figure out a solution, or we’re going to have to get some help. But there are other ways we get “stuck” in our lives that are not so obvious. It might be a simmering resentment toward a person or an event in our past, or it might be fear or feelings of inadequacy. It might be that we don’t know how to move forward in the face of a perplexing problem, or that we can’t make a necessary decision. It might even be that we have too much confidence in our own opinions and abilities and are unwilling to ask for the help that
Do you feel like you are “stuck” in some way in your life? God is in the business of getting us “unstuck,” but sometimes God does let us sit for a while until we’re ready for the solution to our problem. We might need a change of heart or mind. We might need to get closer to God in prayer. We might need to listen to wise people who love us and who want the best for us. Or, we might need to learn to trust God more by simply taking a step forward in the face of uncertainty. If you feel “stuck,” I hope you’ll talk to God about it. God might direct you to “a big stick” to wedge under one of your “tires” so you can get unstuck by yourself. Or, God may direct you to “go back to the front door of a friend, and knock and ask for help.” Either way, I pray you'll enjoy the freedom of moving forward!