There's Always a Way Out
Categories: Fear, Guidance, Perseverance, Personal Growth and Progress, Power of Prayer, Psalms
Sometimes we can feel trapped—like an animal that’s cornered by a predator and doesn’t know how to escape—and afraid, really afraid. We might feel trapped by overwhelming emotions such as fear or anger, by an impossible situation, by what we perceive as unjust actions, by how others treat us, or by a sense of helplessness that comes from not knowing how to get out of the circumstances, whatever they are.
What do we do? We could thrash about, which only works us deeper into the trap, or we could give up (both of which are, by the way, typical animal responses). Or we can move through the fearful feelings by knowing that there’s always a way out with God. Knowing this calms our thoughts so that we can listen to God, think clearly, and act in accord with God’s direction.
There’s a children’s book called Otis that tells how “Otis” the tractor helps his friend the little calf get out of a mud hole. When the farmer finds the little calf sinking into the mud, he calls the big new tractor and then a fire truck to help her. These big machines only scare her, and the little calf gets more stuck.
But when Otis comes down the hill, the little calf’s fearful struggle stops. As Otis begins to circle the pond, she joyfully focuses on her friend and walks herself round and round … and right out of the mud hole. Otis’s gentle and pure love for his little friend was her lifeline. She kept her eye on him, on love; he was her way out.
It’s not necessarily the big, strong muscle that gets us out of tough situations or scary feelings. And it’s certainly not fear and panic that release us; nor does kicking or screaming help. It’s really the pure, unconditional love, which is stronger and bigger than muscle or will-power, that calms the fearful storm raging within us so that we can see the way to become unstuck.
This love is the love of God. No matter what the situation, God is always there to offer a way out. God’s hand is always outstretched to save us. David sang about this in his psalms:
Shew thy marvellous lovingkindness, O thou that savest by thy right hand them which put their trust in thee from those that rise up against them. (Ps 17:7 KJV)
Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will protect me from the anger of my enemies. You reach out your hand, and the power of your right hand saves me. (Ps 138:7 NLT)
The “anger of the enemies” doesn’t have to be people. It can be insidious suggestions and lies that try to cripple or paralyze us with fear—suggestions that sometimes come from others’ lips or our own thinking: I’m not good enough. I can’t handle the pain. I don’t know how to control my emotions. I don’t love myself. I’m not a good person. Anger is more powerful than God. Hurting someone else will make me feel better. Blaming someone else will make the pain go away. Controlling everything will make the fear go away.
In fact, it doesn’t matter how strong the emotions are that swirl around us when we feel trapped or scared. God’s hand is stronger. God’s mothering care is loving us. God’s fathering strength is lifting us up. If we keep our eye on God, we can feel God’s presence filling our thoughts and calming our worries.
We don’t have to worry about holding on to God’s hand because God is holding on to us and will reveal a way to get us out of every and any situation. God is all-knowing. We’re just asked to trust … or simply to keep our eye focused on God.
- The Teen article, “A Safe Place,” expands on the concept of safety and God’s everlasting arms.