When You're Stuck in the Muck and Sinking Fast

"I waited patiently for the Lord;

he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,

out of the mud and mire;

He set my feet on a rock and

gave me a firm place to stand."

Psalm 40:1-2


One weekend, when our boys were young, our family visited a farm. Now if you know anything about the Browns, you will know that farmers we are not. I had "warned" the boys before we left that farms are messy. They wore old clothes, and I packed spares. When we got there, our friends generously supplied them all with muck boots. One of my sons, who shall remain unnamed, was especially disgruntled. Getting dirty was not his thing, but off they went traipsing through the barn, the goat pens, the chicken coops and the cow pastures. Mom (who isn't too fond of getting dirty herself) stayed behind.

However, I was told that our youngest son, Braxton, had a hard time staying on path. He kept wandering off into "boot sucking" areas and actually got stuck a few times. Sjon-Paul told me how Braxton would start yelling for help as his boots would literally sink into the mud and mire. He was stuck fast. Thankfully, Sjon-Paul's friend, Caleb, came to Braxton's rescue. Sjon-Paul, who thought the whole scene was rather comical, would have left him there. The last time it happened though, Caleb must have taken a little longer to get there, because Braxton decided to save himself. He actually left his boots behind and walked the rest of the way in his white socks. You can imagine what a sight awaited me when I opened the door upon their return. Despite blaming the whole ordeal on poor Caleb, Braxton survived. After a change of clothes, he felt much better; although he still isn't as prone to laugh about it as we are.

There are times that I feel like Braxton. I seem to be in unknown territory, stuck and sinking fast. The circumstances around me aren't totally unfamiliar. I mean, Braxton had seen cows before. He knew what a barn was, what chickens look liked, but things seem to take on a different perspective when you are looking at them from the miry pit instead of a grassy field. It's scary. Like Braxton, I have a tendency to yell for help, but after I am rescued, I seem to wander off again and find myself in deeper each time. And just like Braxton, the worst part is when I feel so "down" that I fail to wait for my Savior and leave my boots behind. It's those times that I actually wind up wallowing in the mud. Yuck, what a mess!

Praise God that He doesn’t leave me there. He is faithful to not only get me out of the mud but to clean me up too. The scenery hasn't changed. There are still questions to be answered, problems to be solved, circumstances that have to be sorted out, but I am back on the path, with a new set of boots so to speak. The objective, of course, is to stay on the path. But when the inevitable happens and I wander away, when I get stuck and feel myself sinking, I don't need to try to pull myself out. I need to wait on the Lord to hear my cry. Praise God, He is faithful to lift me out of the slimy pit and give me a firm place to stand.