When You Feel Stuck
By Anne Peterson
Being a soldier’s wife in Germany was an adventure. The hardest part was when our husbands went on 30-day field trips, twice a year. I discovered I liked Volksmarches. That’s where you walk designated paths that totaled about 3 miles or so. There are check-in points with refreshments, and at the end of the walk, you receive a little memento. I’m a token reinforcement kind of person, so it was fun to have these little prizes to show my efforts. And I loved seeing the German landscapes.
One day it was quite challenging. It had rained the night before, and everywhere you looked was mud. But my friend, Kathy, and I decided to tough it out. We had a great time, but I learned quickly that jeans covered in mud are much heavier. And more than once, I felt stuck in the mud. Sometimes the circumstances in our lives cause us to feel stuck, too. God knows that, and He is always ready to lift us out of those hard places. We just need to call on Him, wait for Him, and follow His lead.
Calling on God
I learned early in life I can do hard things. As a young person losing my mom, I grew up way too fast. I’m so thankful God led me to a Bible study where I accepted the Lord as a young adult. Our Bible teacher taught us early on that life would have it’s challenges. She taught us how God is always available. I had to learn to call on God instead of figuring things out for myself.
The more I called on God, the easier it became. Years later, I’ll never forget the time my daughter and I were on our way to church one freezing, winter day. We drove onto the highway ramp when all of a sudden, our car started sliding. “Lord, help,” I called out, picturing us hitting the side rail. And the next thing I knew, our course had changed. There was no impact, but instead our car slowed, and we were out of harm’s way. Fortunately, no car was behind us.
Looking down, my daughter asked, “How did we get in neutral, Mom, did you do that?”
“No,” I responded, catching my breath.
“I didn’t do it either!” she said. Calling on God was the thing to do.
King David learned the benefits of calling on God. David decided he would do it as long as he lived (Psalm 116:2). Calling on God was something I learned easily but waiting on God was much harder for me.
Waiting on God
In my early years of walking with the Lord, I quickly realized God and I do not think alike. This became clear when it came to when things should be done. To put it mildly, I thought God took longer than I wanted to take, at times. And the only way I could grow in this area was for God to teach me patience. Waiting is necessary.
If God has us wait for something, it’s because God needs to work on other people who are involved, God needs to work on the situation itself, or God is working something in us. Paul tells us, God who began a good work in us will continue to work until it’s done, which is when we see Jesus (Philippians 1:6).
Waiting on God continues to be a challenge, but I am getting better at it. I have spiral notebooks full of times I spent in the Bible. At the end of each book is a handwritten prayer list. There are asterisks which indicate my prayers were answered. Some unanswered prayer requests were transferred to subsequent books. I must say, waiting on God is not as painful as it used to be. The longer I know the Lord, the more I learn about His character.
God’s ways are perfect. Something I never would have realized if God always answered my prayers as I wanted. God is more interested in what He’s doing inside of me than whatever is going on in my life. God is making me like Jesus. And yet, there are still times I have wanted to take the lead.
Letting God lead
Giving up control of things has always been a struggle for me. When you grow up in an abusive house, you never know what’s going to happen next. Control is one survival technique. You swore to yourself you would never be in a powerless position again, and you spend your life making sure that never happens. The problem is, those survival mechanisms don’t work in real life. People don’t like to be controlled. And Almighty God will not be controlled. And yet, there are times I smile, thinking about how I hung on with all my might rather than submitting to Him. But the more I learned about God and who He is, the more I loosened my grip.
Sometimes we do get stuck in life, but when that happens and we can’t seem to move, we need to call on the one who is waiting to hear us, to wait for His answer and to follow His lead.
Intersecting Faith and Life:
Where in your life have you found yourself stuck? Which part do you find most challenging, calling on Him, waiting on God’s timing, or letting God lead? Hindsight is 20/20, but those times I have let God lead have been the most rewarding. For God knows what is ahead of us. He will make our paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). And God can make our feet as hinds feet so we can walk on high places. Only He can do that.
My hands are clenched,
My knuckles tight,
I’m hanging on with all my might,
And then I hear God whisper low,
Come on, My Child, let go.
Anne Peterson ©2019
Lord, I pray that you continue to lead us each day. And Father, when we resist you, I thank you that you are patient with us. You are tenderhearted and You have given us free will. Because you are long-suffering, you will wait as long as it takes. God, I pray that you help us so we call on you sooner, wait for you better, and follow you wherever you lead us. We pray this in your Son’s precious and Holy name, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
- Do a Bible study on the word, ‘wait.’
- Read my article on Crosswalk: When it’s Hard to Wait on the Lord
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Tommaso79
Anne Peterson is a poet, speaker, and published author of 16 books. Her most recent book is Always There: Finding God's Comfort through Loss. Anne has published 42 Bible Studies and numerous articles with christianbiblestudies.com. She has been a regular contributor to Crosswalk for seven years. Visit Anne’s website at annepeterson.com and sign up for a free eBook or visit her Facebook page. You can also subscribe to Anne’s YouTube channel where you can watch her recite her poems and share her heart.
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