I’ve heard this expression a lot lately.
I’d like to help you, but I’m swamped because …
I’m mired down in this project that has had one delay after another.
I want to move on, but I get bogged down in old memories.
I can’t take on anything new. I’m still slogging through the consequences of the last disappointment.
I’m stuck – too far in to turn back, and too tired to move forward.
I may have said some of these things myself. We’re finally finishing up a renovation project that was costly and didn’t really make any visual improvements. We had a mild water problem to deal with that had gone on for years (the consequence of living downhill from people who also get rained on). After delays and interruptions the sheet rock is back up, the walls primed and painted and the furniture moved back in, but it’s not like those dramatic reveals on the renovation shows on TV. After all that work it looks very much the same as it did six months ago. But now the foundation is dry and solid and that nagging worry about what nastiness might be growing out of sight is gone. We can now put our efforts toward something more exciting.
Sometimes we need to deal with stuff in our lives that we have been ignoring for a long time. After a while we get bogged down, and whether it’s somebody else’s mess or our own that is swamping us, we need to deal with the soggy secret problems that other people may not see, but keep us from moving forward.
Thank God we are not alone.
A few years back I had to give up the facade of being “just fine thank you” and deal with stagnant emotions that had collected in the low spots in my life. God was faithful and kind, and although it took longer than I wanted it to, it was such a relief to reach solid ground. I can say, “He reached down and drew me from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay.” The end result may not look very much different to observers, but I have a greater appreciation for the Holy Spirit, the paraclete, the One who comes along side, and because He is showing me how He sees me, I have a more solid foundation.
If the swamp is where you are, take heart. There is hope. It may take time but the Lord can pull you out if it. You will run on solid ground.
David understood. He wrote about it in Psalm 40. Some excerpts:
I waited a long time for the Eternal;
He finally knelt down to hear me.
He listened to my weak and whispered cry.
He reached down and drew me
from the deep, dark hole where I was stranded, mired in the muck and clay.
With a gentle hand, He pulled me out
To set me down safely on a warm rock;
He held me until I was steady enough to continue the journey again.
As if that were not enough,
because of Him my mind is clearing up.
Now I have a new song to sing—
a song of praise to the One who saved me…
You have done so many wonderful things,
had so many tender thoughts toward us, Eternal my God,
that go on and on, ever-increasing.
Who can compare with You?…
Please, Eternal One, don’t hold back Your kind ways from me.
I need Your strong love and truth
to stand watch over me and keep me from harm.
Right now I can’t see because I am surrounded by troubles;
my sins and shortcomings have caught up to me,
so I am swimming in darkness.
Like the hairs on my head, there are too many to count,
so my heart deserts me.
O Eternal One, please rescue me.
O Eternal One, hurry; I need Your help…
But may all who look for You discover true joy and happiness in You;
May those who cherish how You save them
always say, “O Eternal One, You are great and are first in our hearts.”
Meanwhile, I am empty and need so much,
but I know the Lord is thinking of me.
You are my help; only You can save me, my True God.
The Voice (VOICE)