When I was about 12, I was in a canoe with my older brother. My family was camping and we decided to take a short jaunt on the boat. I really did not realize that this was going to be an event that I would remember the rest of my life… and for all the wrong reasons.
It had been a stormy rainy day at the campground but the sun was just starting to come out and the opportunity to take a short trip in the canoe presented itself. So off we go and launch the boat. No sooner than we are out on the water, the skies start to darken again, the winds pick up and the water was getting rough.
Sure enough the current of the water was making it hard for us to row the canoe the direction we wanted to go and to make matters worse the wind was pushing us farther away from shore. My brother and I both realized it was time to get to the shore and get there as quick as we could.
Drifting farther away from shore and knowing that we had to make land soon. My brother wasn’t strong enough to do it on his own and I wasn’t much help because I wasn’t strong enough to paddle through the current and the wind. Soon we were caught in the middle of the storm and with the rain, the wind and the current our little canoe trip suddenly got real. Real dangerous.
The wind was just blowing so hard that the boat became unstable. Next thing I knew we started to roll to one side and I remember hitting the water. Now for the record, I had a life jacket on. I also was a good swimmer. I had no “fear” of the water. But when the canoe rolled over my brother was thrown clear of the boat. However, I wasn’t so lucky. My leg got caught and it was stuck and wedged around one of the cross members that made up the bench portion of the canoe. Because the boat rolled so quickly, I did not have time to react and catch my breath.
My leg was stuck and I couldn’t get it loose. I was completely submerged and no air to breathe. I started to inhale water and started to panic.
I pulled myself up towards the boat and my head popped up above the water line for just enough time for me to gasp a quick breath. Only to be dragged under again by the weight of the boat. I was still frantic at not being able to free myself from the boat and I was doing everything I could but nothing seemed to work. I don’t remember what I did to make it work but suddenly I was free from the boat and I was fighting my way to the surface to get another breath of fresh air.
It was a close call. I really believe that had I not been freed from where I was stuck, I would have drowned. I was scared and probably for the first time in my life I realized that I would not live forever and life was fragile.
We held onto the boat and drifted for a while in the water. The wind was so strong that it eventually pushed us all the way to other side of the lake. After about an hour of riding out the storm and being in the water we were able to reach the other side and get on land.
No lasting damage I guess… except for the memories… that as I hard as I try, I cannot forget.
Over 40 years later, one of my greatest fears is getting stuck somewhere where I cannot breathe. It is one of my my worst nightmares.
I am sure that is a common feeling. No one wants to get stuck somewhere where they cannot free themselves.
The truth is… we all get stuck… somewhere.
Stuck at points in our life that cripple us in the days, weeks, months and maybe even years ahead.
Stuck at some point where something happened. Where we were hurt, wounded, broken, abused or sinned against.
Maybe a parent died, a spouse left, a child became ill, and we got stuck at that terrible event…at that moment in our life. Any for many… they have not been able to move on. Years later they are still at that same point in their life. Too hurt and afraid to move on in their life.
I’m finding that the problems in many people’s lives are often the result of their stuck places. From that wound, that death, that divorce they are emotionally stuck and cannot go further, cannot grow, cannot walk away from the wound and so they carry our woundedness with them and sadly create stuck places for others they encounter.
They are the walking wounded, the mass of humanity stuck in the past hurts and wounds of their lives that have affected them and now affect those around them.
I am no different. I have stuck places… places I remember vividly because of what someone had done to me, moments in time I have recorded in my brain that I can replay in high-definition detail.
We all have experiences where we are stuck because of what happened, because of what someone said, what they did to us, how they hurt us. We remember every detail, every moment.
We all can become stuck.
Imagine this multiplied by 6 billion. The whole of humanity stuck in the pain and hurt, rejection and abuse of their pasts. Imagine the wounds that are still open, still tender, still bleeding from what has happened in our pasts.
Many times from these “stuck places” many find that they now “walk with a limp.” Emotional scars and baggage. Permanent reminders of the pain of the past.
Where was Jesus when you were hurt, when you were rejected, when you were abused?
Where was God when you got stuck?
He was right there with you, walking with you through your hurts, your abuse, your divorce, your rejection. It’s His great desire that we take our brokenness to Him, our stuckness if you will, and allow Him to heal, restore, and move you past the pain, past that moment that got you stuck.
Paul described it this way, 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation (something brand new!) has come: The old has gone, the new is here (present tense)! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. (getting us “unstuck”) And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
Imagine what can happen when even one person brings all their mess, all their stuck-ness to God to resolve.
Are you stuck? Jesus can fix that. It’s available to everyone, no matter what happened, no matter where you got stuck, Jesus came to dissolve the glue of our past, erase the pain of our wounds, heal the scars of our encounters and make us new.