Stuck or Planted?

Do you ever feel that way—stuck! Perhaps you are stuck in a job you don’t like or a marriage that is loveless. Are you facing a life of illness where the situation you’re stuck in includes hospitals, prescriptions, and overwhelming medical bills? Sometimes, our “stuck spot” is more petty, like a bad haircut, twenty pounds too many, or a lacking wardrobe; however, those daily grind stuck spots are difficult to overcome too.

Stuck—can’t get out—can’t change it—HELP!

This powerful little prayer is such a challenge! Let us consider…

  • John Bunyan, who wrote “Pilgrim’s Progress” while he was stuck in jail
  • J. S. Bach, who wrote 46 pieces of music while in jail
  • Paul, whose imprisonment gave us Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, and Philemon

All three of these men were stuck in situations that were unchangeable, and yet Bunyan turned his cell into a allegorical backdrop, Bach changed his prison into a concert hall, and Paul traded his chains in for a Spirit-led quill!

And when we consider our Bible heroes, like Esther, Daniel, and Joseph–just to name a few–we realize that they too made lemonade out of their lemony situations.

Stuck or planted?  Are you stuck because you will not make necessary changes, or are you planted right where God wants you to be? 🙂 Hmm. That’s good for thought! Just some helpful conclusions:

  • If I can’t change it, I MUST accept it serenely.
  • If I can change it I MUST elicit God’s grace and power to do so, surrendering my will to His.
  • I MUST depend on the Word of God for wisdom, reading it, studying it, and allowing it to keep my thinking biblical.

Perhaps a picture IS worth a thousand words!

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Image result for dead plant in pot






And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Cor. 12:9


“What’s Your Problem?”

ID-100122418We may have heard this phrase or even used it in a harsh, accusing way, but I’m asking it with a heart of concern. What is your problem? You may say, “I don’t have a problem.” Good for you! Or, you may say, “Where do you want me to start?” Then others might smile and say, “Nothing. I’m good,” with a smile that tries to cover a breaking heart but doesn’t quite get to the eyes. You know what I mean.

I’ve recently discovered something: God’s grace. How does that really work? I’m learning that it only works when we do several things:

  1. Speak the truth in our hearts.  He that walketh uprightly, and worketh righteousness, and speaketh the truth in his heart (Psalm 15:2).”
  2. Turn our cares completely over to God. “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Peter 5: 7).”
  3. Stop trying to salve the hurt with other things. “And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me (2 Corinthians 12: 9).”

How do you deal with hurt? So often we turn to other things for our comfort and don’t even realize we’re doing it! Like…

  • Hobbies – We get busy with a craft or exercise at the gym or parties
  • Home – Ladies, we clean fiercely, or cook extravagantly, or spend lots of time redecorating or rearranging furniture
  • Work – We throw ourselves into our work, spending long hours away from home, especially if the problem is at home
  • Internet – We fiercely display all our pent up anger, hurt, disappointment, frustrations, or whatever on a social media page. We vent.

All of these things, except the last one, are not bad things.  They may even take away the pain for a while, but in the end, we’re right where we started: dealing with a situation that we cannot change.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.


This poem has long been a favorite of mine, so much so that I put it to music way back in high school! Its simple truths continue to circle back into my life.

When we turn to other sources of relief, we are like a child with a splinter.  We squirm and cry and dramatize, making it more difficult, if not impossible, for the “splinter-remover” to do his or her job! Is that why God had David write Psalm 23? “He MAKETH me to LIE DOWN… He LEADETH beside…”

He knows what is best. We can’t fix it. We can only rest in His grace, allowing it to soothe when nothing else will soothe. Only He can calm the soul. Only God and His grace give peace.  Is it a “once and done” thing? No, my friend. When the problem continues, so does the possibility for angst and the need to once again sit at the Master’s feel and sense His sufficient grace!

A Lesson from Injustice



It’s three AM on a Saturday morning. So, why am I blogging at such a wonderful hour?  Because I was awakened by the whirring noise of machinery.  That wouldn’t be unusual if I lived near a construction site or beside an industrial park, but I live on the top of a mountain, for crying out loud!  So, what’s making that noise? The creation of the Marcellus Shale Pipeline.

For those of you who do not live in central PA, beneath our sleepy little area is a rock formation that has over a trillion cubic feet of gas trapped within it.  The formation spreads all along the Appalachian mountain range which makes it valuable because of its nearness to the Atlantic Ocean.  People in this area have dealt with gas companies all their lives, leased their land to them, and allowed them to explore; however, it wasn’t cost effective for them to pursue the tedious process of extracting the gas…until now.

So, after living in this peaceful country setting, enjoying the mountains and all their splendor –  bragging that Steam Valley was one of the best kept secrets because of its beauty and easy accessibility (I live half a mile off of Route 15), that has all changed.  Trucks run up and down little Route 184 nearly 24/7 – that’s quiet; across from my house is one of their headquarters, so there may be 20 pickup trucks parked in our church parking lot some mornings; and they now have a bank of lights that face our house, shining in our front windows as early as five o’clock in the morning rivaling the sunrise!  Am I complaining? YES!

Injustice – a situation or action in which people are not treated fairly.  I want to cry, “It’s not fair!”  Am I getting any of the millions of dollars that are pouring into local pockets? No!  Will my energy costs be lowered because of this pipeline?  Probably not.  Can I do anything about it? Absolutely not!  (Except complain to you!!)  That seems like injustice to me.

So, what is the lesson I need to learn from this, Lord?  I have to admit, I’m not a very willing pupil this morning!

Are you ever in a situation that you have absolutely no control over?  One of my favorite quotes is the Serenity Prayer:

God, grant to me the serenity

To accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to the change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

Yesterday, a fellow pastor and his wife from our area attended the funeral of his twelve year old grandson.  That puts things into perspective!  I’ll take my few sleepless nights and disturbed country solitude!  If we do not accept what we cannot change – those obstacles that God has purposefully placed in our path – we will spend a whole lot of time fussing and fuming and changing nothing!  May I spend my energies more wisely!  God puts those problem boulders in our path so that we might stop and look up.  I get this vivid picture of walking along a quiet pathway (have you noticed that I’m really in to QUIET? :)), and this huge boulder drops from the sky right in front of me.  Woah!  That will get your attention!  What would we do?  Would we complain and shake our fist at God saying something like, “Now why did you do that Lord?  Why did you drop that thing right in my way?”  Or perhaps, we could join Balaam of old and talk to the boulder! (Numbers 22)

God does everything for a purpose.  I need to say that again.  God does EVERYTHING for a purpose.  GOD DOES everything for a purpose.  God does everything for a PURPOSE.  And that purpose is to change us into His image.  He never tires or complains about our stupid stubborn ways, He just continues to teach us and love us!  Oh, that the world would see a difference in my life – a changed life!

Ps 119:71 It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.