Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
February 3, 2013
What to do when you feel trapped
Optimism is good. Positive thinking is the best kind. I enjoy being around positive people who smile and affirm that “Life is good.” I need friends who remind me daily that life is too short to allow much of it to be spoiled by pessimism.
When asked how he is feeling one of my friends always replies, “If I felt any better I would be twins!” He delights in being positive. People like people with a positive attitude.
Even when life is tough we can be thankful for our blessings. Helen Keller once said: “So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” Bravo, Helen, you were right! Most of us have reasons enough to declare, life is good!
However realism demands we admit that sometimes life is bad. It can be really bad. Terrible things happen to people, things that are difficult to explain and things that cause us to feel trapped.
Most of us feel trapped at times. Illness can trap us, especially if the doctor is puzzled about how to treat us. Our sins can trap us. We tell a lie and it leads to another. Then the truth emerges and we feel trapped.
We live beyond our means and our debts trap us. A colleague at work becomes impossible to work with and reconciliation seems hopeless. Injury results in physical confinement and doctors offer no hope of recovery.
To feel free as the wind is a marvelous feeling. To feel trapped, sometimes by circumstances not of our own making, is a dreadful feeling that can bring us to our knees. But that may be the very place we need to be – on our knees, finally ready to let the good Lord help us escape.
Catherine Marshall once wrote a book titled Adventures in Prayer. In it she offers some helpful prayers, like this one:
“Lord, I have been defeated by circumstances. I have felt like an animal trapped in a corner with nowhere to flee. Where are YOU in all this, Lord? The night is dark. I cannot feel your presence.
“Help me to know that the darkness is really ‘shade of your hand, outstretched caressingly;’ that the ‘hemming in’ is your doing. Perhaps there was no other way you could get my full attention, no other way I would allow you to demonstrate what you can do in my life.
“I see now that the emptier my cup is, the more space there is to receive your love and supply. Lord, I hand to you my situation, asking you to fill it from your bountiful reservoirs in your own time and your own way.
“How I thank you, Father in heaven, that your riches are available to me, not on the basis of my deserving, but of Jesus and his worthiness. Therefore, in the strength of his name I pray. Amen.”
That is the kind of prayer I need to pray from time to time. I need to remember when I feel trapped that the good Lord is in the business of setting prisoners free. And he has the power to set me free. Then, in spite of pain and misfortune, I can sing and shout in the darkness that because God loves us, life really is good, mighty good! + + +