The young woman ran wildly among the trees near the shore of the island in a frenzied attempt to escape a pack of wild dogs chasing her. After making a sharp turn to the left, she suddenly slipped into a patch of quicksand. The dogs picked up a new scent along the way, thankfully, and shifted their pursuit to another creature, which quickly began to run in the opposite direction. But the woman now had a new problem to deal with, and it was not waiting for her to figure out a solution.
Slowly but surely, the sand was pulling her in deeper and deeper.
At first, she thought it was not a serious problem, and began grabbing any nearby objects and branches. She quickly determined that this was pointless, since everything she pulled broke off or slid in with her. So she attempted to wade her way out, and even tried a light swimming maneuver. Both proved hopeless as her body became more engulfed in the thick, soft ground.
Since she had not seen anyone else around to help her, panic set in and loud screams emanated from her mouth.
Meanwhile, the burly captain of a boat tied to a dock around the bend nearby had heard her shrieks. He dropped everything and ran as rapidly as he could to the place where she was trapped. He saw a large tree with sturdy branches hanging over the young woman, so he picked up some strong, thick rope lying not far from where he was and quickly climbed the tree. He crawled cautiously out to the place right on top of where she was stranded. After securing the rope tightly, he made a crude loop for her to grab, and slowly began to lower it down.
By this time, the woman was at the point of utter desperation. While her arms thrashed about in sheer terror, she frantically looked around for something, anything, she could get her hands on—only to discover nothing anywhere nearby.
Feelings of doom and death flooded her mind as she began to give up hope.
She thought about her husband she had recently married, and how he would handle the loss and emptiness after her departure. Her mood shifted to gloom as she brooded on the idea that she would never see the smiling faces of the children they would have had. There would be no home to spruce up for him or anyone else each day. In fact, there would be no more days to see anything, since she was sure her life was about to end.
She moaned loudly in hopelessness and agony as she realized that all prospects of rescue were gone. All she could think of was her terrible misery.
Suddenly, right above her head, a voice bellowed “Stop looking at yourself. Look up to me!”
The young woman looked left and right but saw no one. Thinking she was becoming delirious, she groaned louder. Again, the voice thundered: “Stop looking at yourself and look up to me!” The woman was more startled than anything else, as she turned her head around in all different directions. It wasn’t until she finally glanced upward that she noticed the rope dangling right beside her.
“Take the rope, put your arms in the loop, and lower it around yourself,” the captain hollered sternly. The woman grabbed hold of the line and pulled the loop under her arms and held onto the rope, while the captain used the leverage of another branch to slowly pull her up to the limb he was perched on.
“How can I ever thank you? I thought it was the end for me!” she exclaimed breathlessly as she sat beside him. “How in the world did you know I needed help?” The captain was silent while he helped the woman climb down the tree.
Then, as they walked back to his boat, he paused and remarked, “I heard your call in the beginning. I knew you couldn’t make it on your own. So I dropped everything and ran to where you were.”
With that, he motioned her to join him, saying “Come on, you can clean up, and then I’ll take you to the other shore.”
How many in this world today feel trapped like that young woman—not in quicksand, but in their own pain, desolation, and anguish? While trying to escape from one dangerous mishap, they end up stuck in another instead. And all too often, for many it is their last.
The problem is that they only keep their eyes on themselves and their circumstances, looking to themselves alone for the solution. They therefore end up struggling and trying all kinds of unsuccessful methods to get free from the bad situation that they are trapped in.
They leave God out of the picture, so their life becomes hopelessly lost. Eventually they reach a point of feeling like there is no one else around who could really help, and no way out.
Depression and despair set in and their outlook becomes grim. After one more desperate cry for help, they slump down defeated, and all but give up. They finally concede that their dilemma is greater than they are able to solve.
This is when they finally hear a voice from deep within their soul crying, “Stop looking at yourself and look up to Me!” Here is their solution. When they looked at themselves alone, their bad situation had no hope of ending well.
Only when they look up to Jesus will they find the answer that will save them.
The means of rescue is hovering right above them, like it was with the young woman in this story—if they will only look up and not look to themselves. As long as they stay focused on their dire condition, they will never be able to make their way out on their own. If they refuse to turn their eyes toward Jesus and depend on Him for their deliverance, they will continue to sink deeper in their sorrow.
When Jesus hears the desperate and sincere cries for help from our heart, like the captain of the boat did, He immediately comes to our aid.
If we put our trust in Him, He will extract us from the mire and pull us up to a secure place. He will even clean off our filth. And not only that, He will also invite us to follow Him to the other shore. All of this He willingly does, even though we don’t deserve any of it.
Do you find yourself running away from one problem, only to find yourself trapped in another, unable to find a way out? Have you been trying to free yourself, and all of your attempts have only made the predicament even worse? Then quit focusing on what you are going through and how you will solve it yourself. Look up to Jesus for your help instead. He is your only solution and He is listening for your call for help.
“…for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
He is lowering your rescue rope right now, waiting for you to put your trust in Him, so He can deliver you from your difficulty.
[Image credit:Matthew Maaskant/freeimages.com)