While driving one day, I was deeply stirred by a question that popped up in my mind. “How do you keep trusting when you feel trapped?” When those kinds of thoughts hit me, I head for the dictionary to look up definitions of strategic words. The word "trapped" stood out above all the others. Trapped:
1. Unable to move or escape as a result of obstruction
2. Unable to escape as from a situation
3. Jammed, entangled, or caught.
Somewhere along the journey, you will inevitably face a situation that will make you feel as though you are paralyzed. Everything that is going on around you can make it seem as though life is happening either in slow motion or fast forward while you are standing still. It feels like you are being transported involuntarily in a circus trainer’s cage, with absolutely no control over what is happening. If you could see a way out, perhaps you would take it. If the trainer is not careful, when he opens the door to feed you, you may just bite off a hand. If I would have had a sense of the time frame for my release, it would have been easier to place complete confidence in God.
We always want to know when the instructor will post the final grade. It signals not only how well we have done, but also that there are no more exams to take, or one more paper to write. The class is officially over, and we can finally exhale. In my case, it felt like I was in the college of lifelong learning. In the fourteenth year of marriage to Rev, I recall curling up in a closet in the fetal position and pouring my heart and tears out to God. I asked Him if this was all there was to this marriage. Was it all about persistent pain, demoralizing tirades, and a failure to experience Godly love from my covering? That closet felt like the closest thing to a cage I had ever experienced. Though I climbed in myself, and knew I could open the door, what I could not see was a way out of the marriage. I was trapped and felt that God’s Word would not allow any option other than, ‘till death do us part’, and I definitely did not think it was going to be mine. What multiplied my anguish that day was when I heard the doorknob turn and Rev was standing there laughing, saying, “Oh, I wondered where you were.” The level of insensitivity was crushing. I quickly sucked up my tears. I felt embarrassed that Rev had found me like that in a private moment of pain and to him it was like a joke. How could it be funny to find your wife on the floor of a small closet, balled up like a baby, and laugh it off as though I was playing hide and seek with myself?
Here is what I have learned when seeking life direction as a Christ follower. Always acknowledge God first and allow time for confirmation of the plan. If His stamp of approval is on something, when things get rough, you can always go back to Him and say, “You told me to do this, so I will trust Your purpose when the heat is on.” I had to make an exit from doubting that I had been led into this marriage, as I alluded to in another chapter. When you have the blessed assurance that you are being Divinely instructed, you may question the process and you may question the pain, but His purpose is nonnegotiable. When you feel trapped in any situation, God always has enough grace to carry you through what He has brought you to. You may need some therapy or even counseling from a professional. Everyone is not at the same place of faith and there is nothing wrong with getting human help when you feel trapped; but never doubt that God is with you every step of the way.
This is a poem I wrote when I was struggling to trust what God was doing, back in 2006:
WHEN I COULD NOT SEE TOMORROW
By Delphine Reed
When I could not see tomorrow
You held it in Your hand
When the clouds were thick and looming
It did not change Your plan.
The clouds did burst upon me
And the floods came mighty high
But You never let me gasp for air
I knew I would not die.
There are just some things that must needs be
We walk through and feel the pain
But when we come to the end of the test
Only what is real can remain.