Jan
14

Stuck! by Randy Rowley 1/14/08 ©

By

In late January, six friends and I headed to the saltwater marsh near Corpus Christi for a weekend duck hunt.  On Saturday morning, five of us hunted a point on an island off Wilson’s Cut and bagged four Redheads.  Our other two hunters hunted across the shallow cove from us.  Unfortunately, they were skunked.

After the hunt, Charles Cutchens and I decided to do some scouting in my truck.  We had heard more than one group of hunters shoot a lot to the north of us and decided to try to find a land route that would take us close to where they were.

After driving about a mile, we came to a low area.  I came to a stop above it.  The bottom looked a little soupy but there were several truck tire tracks through the area.  I put it in 4WD High and hit the gas.

The moment that we got into the low area, I knew that we were in trouble.  I didn’t think that I would make it to the other side, and knew better than to stop and put it in 4WD Low, so I tried to turn around.  Big mistake!  I didn’t have enough room to complete my U-turn.  Halfway through my turn it started to feel like I was driving on ice.  I had no control.  I bogged down and came to a stop, mostly in the muck, off of the sandy road

I put it in 4WD Low and we put shrub branches under the wheels but we didn’t budge an inch.  We got in touch with Greg Souther and soon the cavalry came to the rescue.  We hooked Mark Dillow’s truck to my truck.  He gave it gas but all we succeeded in doing was getting him stuck (he was pulled out by Greg’s truck) and breaking two of the five tow straps that we were using.  We even piggybacked two trucks together to no avail.

After trying for three hours, we gave up and called a wrecker.  In about 45 minutes the wrecker, complete with a big winch, arrived.  In just a few minutes, my truck popped out of the muck like a cork from a bottle.  I ended the morning $300 poorer and a little wiser.

In retrospect, what I should have done was to keep moving forward.  I still might have gotten stuck but I would have done so on the sandy road, and not mostly in the muck.  If I had done that, and had still gotten stuck, we probably would have succeeded in pulling me out.

Although getting stuck in the muck is fortunately unusual, we Christians get stuck all too often in the past and/or the future.

Exodus Chapter 3 records the first conversation between Moses and God, at the burning bush.  Exodus 3:13-14 says, “Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?”  God said to Moses, “I am who I am.  This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’””  God didn’t say, “I Was has sent me to you,” with the regrets and errors of the past.  Nor did he say, “I will be has sent me to you,” with the worries and fears of the future.  Although God lives in the past, present, and future, he wants to meet us in the present.  When we live in the here and now, life is less hard because God is here.

Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”  “Anxious about anything” includes being anxious about the future.  When we fret about what will happen to our world, country, state, county, or city we are being anxious.  This does not mean that we shouldn’t be concerned about the future and make plans, but we shouldn’t obsess about the future to the point of anxiety.

Jesus said in John 16:24, ““Until now you have not asked for anything in my name.  Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.””  He did not speak in the future tense in this verse.  He did not say, “Your joy will be complete one day.”  He instructed his disciples to ask in the present and they would receive in the present.

Jesus also addressed fretting about the future.  He said in Matthew 6:25-27, ““Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?  Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?””

We cannot live in the past.  If we try to, we will eventually get stuck.  We’ll be constantly asking ourselves “what if?”  Some of the “what if” questions we might ask ourselves include:

  • What would my health have been like if I had exercised and ate right?
  • What would my life have been like if I had married someone else?
  • What would my life have been like if I had chosen a different career?
  • What would my finances have been like if I had waited until I was more financially stable before I had started a family?
  • What would my life have been like if God had given me a different temperament or different gifts?

“What if” makes great fiction and keeps history and sports analysts busy (e.g., “What would have happened if the American carriers had been at Pearl Harbor when the Japanese bombed it?” and “Who would have won if the 72 Dolphins had played the 62 Packers?”), but it keeps us Christians from experiencing the full life that God intended for us.  Jesus said in John 10:10b (NASB), “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

No amount of guilt can change the past.  The past was just a lesson, not a life sentence.

We also cannot live in the future.  Just like trying to live in the past, we will eventually get stuck.  No amount of anxiety can change the future.  We’ll be constantly wondering, “What will probably happen to me?”  Some of the “what will probably happen” questions we might ask ourselves include:

  • What will probably happen if I take that job and move to San Antonio?”
  • What will probably happen if I move my mom in with me?
  • What will probably happen if I decide to retire at age 60?  Will we make it?”

The problem is we’re not guaranteed that we will have a tomorrow.  Despite that fact, many people don’t live in the now because they’re so consumed with planning for the future.  Many people have not taken vacations or worked when they were sick just so they could be paid more money when they retired, only to die a year or so after they stopped working.  All their plans were for nothing.

God expects us to live to the full today.  Again, I am not saying that we should not plan for the future, but there is a big difference between planning for the future and living in it.  The future should not be our top priority.  God may have something totally different in store for us than what we planned.

Regret, worry, and fear are the thieves who rob us of today.  The presents that god gave us of salvation, the Holy Spirit, abundant life, and spiritual gifts, are not future gifts to be unwrapped someday.  We were made complete in Christ and received his gifts instantly when we accepted him.  Colossians 2:9-10 (NLT) says, “For in Christ lives all the fullness of God in a human body.  So you also are complete through your union with Christ, who is the head over every ruler and authority.”

Too many Christians get saved and then only look forward to their eternal destination.  They miss out what God has in store for them right now.  God does not want us to read and meditate on his Word, memorize it, pray, disciple other Christians, serve others, etc. some day.  He wants us to take advantage of these blessings right now.

It is said that a rut is just a grave that has had both ends kicked out.  Are you stuck in a rut – living in the past and/or in the future?  If so do what I did when I was stuck – get someone to pull you out.  The only person who will successfully pull you out 100% of the time when you’re stuck in a rut is Jesus Christ.  But, just like I did when that wrecker arrived, we have to get out of his way and allow him to do it.

Randy’s truck
Categories : Devotionals

Bible verse of the day

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him — his name is the Lord. A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Today’s Devotionals and Blogs

Kent Crockett’s blog – www.kentcrockett.blogspot.com

Mark Dillow’s blog – http://noclearline.blogspot.com/