Feeling Trapped?

“This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 1 John 5:14 NIV

Part of having a strengthened heart as a Christian, is having a healthy and balanced perspective in our relationship with God as we live our lives.

And part of having a healthy and balanced perspective is knowing with confidence that God hears us, especially when life seems difficult. That always brings me confidence. Knowing God hears my prayers and wants a relationship with me is comforting in many ways. Especially when His will doesn’t always make sense.

However, even though God hears us, that doesn’t mean that God will always say yes, or answer our request in the way we want Him to.

The Trapped Bear

I’m reminded of a story about a bear that finds it’s paw stuck in a trap. A trapper comes up on the bear and sees the bear weak and struggling. The trapper knows he has to free the bear. So he moves in to free the bear. The bear has no idea what the trapper is up to, and instinctively thinks the trapper means the bear harm. So a struggle ensues. The trapper, to free the bear, has to actually move the trap deeper up the bears paw to free the bear. The bear believes the trapper is doing more harm, when actually, the angst he is causing the bear, in the end, will free the bear. Freedom from the trap!

The lesson from the story is we all struggle and get stuck in traps that we want God to free us from. Sometimes a struggle ensues between us and God. And God, being the almighty and wise God that He is, always has a lesson for us to learn, that only He can see us through in a way that He sees fit. And sometimes His resolution can be painful. In the end, God wants a relationship with us. He wants to hear our victories and our struggles, even when it seems like He is moving the trap further up our leg.

Sometimes God will say yes, and sometimes He will say no. But, knowing He hears us and has that relationship with us brings strength to my heart.

My Trap

I remember a time when I wanted to accept a promotion that would move my family back home to Kansas City. At the time, I wanted more than anything to get back home. I missed my life long friends and family. But, what I wanted and what the rest of my family wanted were at odds.

My wife had fallen in love with Nebraska. It’s where the roots of her family began, and we had developed deep friendships and attended a great church. You can probably already see where this is headed, the deck was stacked against me. And you know what they say, “Husbands wear the pants in the family, until their wives get home!” I’m kidding, but, listen, we have another saying in our home, and I know you’ve heard it, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” And she wanted and thought we should stay in Nebraska. And I wanted her happy, but I also wanted to move back home. What’s a guy to do?

She will kill me if I publish this without saying this; after all of our family discussions about moving, in the end, she left the decision up to me. She is a wise woman! So, we moved. Just kidding, we ended up staying, but, I could have put my foot down, and concluded, it’s God’s will that we move, so we are moving! And strutted off in all my glory!

However, and that’s a big however, God had a big lesson for me to learn. Even though staying in Nebraska was making me feel trapped, I learned that family life wasn’t always going to be just about Matt. Family life is about what’s best for the family as a whole.

When Anne left the final decision with me, I went straight back to God. And I knew what He was going to say, I didn’t even have to plead my case. He said, stay put. So we stayed in Nebraska.

In the end, I was desiring something that just wasn’t Gods will for my family. And I again began to feel trapped and quite frankly, pissed! By accepting the promotion, we were going to make more money, and get to move back to the big city! I dreamt of summer time KC Royals games with my kids and Fall Chiefs playoff games with MaHomes in my back yard! It was going to be great!

I was also thinking, if I just prayed hard enough and asked God to change my families heart about the situation, that they would agree with me and see things my way. Ha! Not only was that bad theology, it just wasn’t God’s will.

During the debate and discussions I eventually began to feel God was punishing me, but in reality, all these years later, He wasn’t, and I see His perfect hand. I see His good and perfect will for our lives.

In the struggle, when I was knee deep in the trap, I cried out to God, and in my own way, I struggled and fought, but God was moving. His good and perfect will was being accomplished. And He heard me. He didn’t agree with me, but, He heard my moaning. In the end, I eventually felt the freedom that bear must have felt as the trapper finally freed it from the trap.

Over the last fifteen years, since the family struggle ensued, I can deeply see God’s hand in the decision that made us stay. My wife and I have learned so many beautiful life lessons as we have raised our family in Lincoln, NE. And I’m so glad we stayed. Lincoln, NE is our home.

God’s perfect will is good and freeing and strengthens our hearts in profound ways. Makes me very thankful.

And yes, momma bear is still happy…and so is papa bear, even though my leg has this nasty scar!


2 thoughts on “Feeling Trapped?”

  1. Thank you for the reminder of how God always hears our prayer’s. We know that God loves and cares for us, but trusting completely in his timing can be difficult. Thanks again for your message.

  2. You bet, Bob! It is difficult. that’s part of a trusting relationship. I’ll have to keep watching MaHomes on TV!

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