Monday, February 16, 2009

Get Out Of The Mud!

Although it’s a bit early for a season change, we’ve had some warm days, and at least one sign of Spring has become evident – mud!

Every year I go through the same ritual with one or more of my kids. The frosty white snow has melted away leaving a swath of brown squishiness the entire length of our driveway, yet they never seem to notice (or care about) this. They still walk (or run) across the lawn to the van and I find myself shouting, “Get out of the mud!”

On at least one occasion, I’ve been a fraction of a second too late and the child who didn’t notice the new, soft ground condition has had to get up and go change clothes after sliding several feet and losing the battle with gravity.

As a child, I happily played with mud for hours, making pies and planting seeds in old discarded dishes and cracked flowerpots. As an adult, I can appreciate the effort it takes to clean up the mess of that play!

Even if you don’t slip and fall in it, whatever mud has collected on your shoes is deposited step-by-step everywhere you go. No matter how hard you try, you’re going to get things dirty until you clean the mud off your shoes.

Mud is also difficult to walk in. The deeper the mud is, the greater the suction that is produced which tugs at your foot as you slog through it. If it’s deep enough, you might lose a shoe to its mucky pull. If it’s very deep, you may end up stuck completely and need help getting out.

And, as previously mentioned, mud can cause you to lose your footing and fall.

Rather than deal with the messiness and potential embarrassment that mud is capable of, I choose to avoid it if possible. For many situations, there is a very clear choice: walk in the mud or don’t walk in the mud.

But sometimes we find ourselves in mud through no fault of our own and we have no choice but to walk through it in order to get out. And then there are times when we just can’t resist and we choose to walk in the mud despite the consequences.

Well, guess what? Troubles and sin are a lot like mud.

The prophet Jeremiah was not a very popular guy when he told the people of Jerusalem that the Lord said they needed to surrender to the Babylonian army rather than fight. Some of the officials took him and put him in a cistern, which was used to collect water from a spring or from rain.

Jeremiah 38:6

So they took Jeremiah and put him into the cistern of Malkijah, the king's son, which was in the courtyard of the guard. They lowered Jeremiah by ropes into the cistern; it had no water in it, only mud, and Jeremiah sank down into the mud.

Jeremiah was in mud through no fault of his own; mud deep enough to sink in. He was in a little bit of trouble there!

Our troubles won’t necessarily involve literal mud, but we can feel like we’re sinking under a financial burden, a family problem, an employment crisis, or some other situation we have no control over.

We don’t choose to be in those situations, but everyone has to walk through some trouble in life. We can’t go around it and it won’t go away. We just have to go through it. If the trouble is too great though, we may need to call someone for help.

God is always ready to be that help.

Psalm 40 is referred to as A Praise for Deliverance. Here is what David writes:

Psalms 40:1-2

1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 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.

But, what about our problem with sin? Unfortunately, most of us continue to struggle with temptations and make bad choices regarding them. We still play in the mud, knowing very well that we’ll get dirty.

2 Peter 2:22

Of them the proverbs are true: "A dog returns to its vomit," and, "A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud."

Is God ready to help us get out of that mess too? Absolutely! As soon as we cry out to Him and let Him know we want to get out of the mud, He reaches down to lift us up. David was confident of this, otherwise he wouldn’t have asked.

Psalm 40:7-8,11-13

7 Then I said, "Here I am, I have come-- it is written about me in the scroll. 8 I desire to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart." 11 Do not withhold your mercy from me, O Lord; may your love and your truth always protect me. 12 For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see. They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me. 13 Be pleased, O Lord, to save me; O Lord, come quickly to help me.

Don’t wait another day!

If you feel like your troubles have you sinking or your sins are pulling you down into the muck, make a new choice today. Turn to the Lord, cry out to Him, and…

Get out of the mud!