By WALTER ALBRITTON
I enjoy the company of positive people who affirm that “Life is good.” Life is good and too short to spoil it with pessimism.
While it’s also true that sometimes life is not good, we can still be thankful for our blessings. Despite her blindness and other problems, Helen Keller could say, “So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” If Helen could say that, we can say it too.
Realism demands the admission that sometimes life is bad. Terrible things happen that cause us to feel trapped. All of us feel trapped at times. Illness can trap us. Our sins can trap us. We tell a lie and it leads to another. The truth emerges and we feel trapped.
Our debts trap us when we live beyond our means. A colleague becomes impossible to work with and reconciliation seems hopeless. Injury results in physical confinement and doctors offer no hope of recovery. Many traps await us on life’s journey, and each of us has a longing to be free.
To feel trapped, sometimes by circumstances not of our own making, is a dreadful feeling that can bring us to our knees. But that may be the very place we need to be — on our knees, finally ready to let the good Lord help us escape. How does He do that? The answer may be a prayer — the right kind of prayer. There have been “trapped” moments in my life when I needed to pray a prayer like this one written by Catherine Marshall in her book, “Adventures in Prayer”:
“Lord, I have been defeated by circumstances. I have felt like an animal trapped in a corner with nowhere to flee. Where are YOU in all this, Lord? The night is dark. I cannot feel your presence. Help me to know that the darkness is really ‘shade of your hand, outstretched caressingly;’ that the ‘hemming in’ is your doing. Perhaps there was no other way you could get my full attention, no other way I would allow you to demonstrate what you can do in my life. I see now that the emptier my cup is, the more space there is to receive your love and supply. Lord, I hand to you my situation, asking you to fill it from your bountiful reservoirs in your own time and your own way. How I thank you, Father in heaven, that your riches are available to me, not on the basis of my deserving, but of Jesus and his worthiness. Therefore, in the strength of his name I pray. Amen.”
Keep that prayer handy. If not today, there will come a day when you need to pray it so the Lord can set you free. When I feel trapped, it helps to remember that the Lord is in the business of setting prisoners free. And he has the power to set me free when I accept his terms. Then, in spite of pain, grief or heartache, I can shout and sing in the darkness that because God loves me, life really is good! Thank you Jesus!