Stuck: When Our Plans Go Awry

Stuck: When Our Plans Go Awry

By Silas Sproul

I enjoy songwriting. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to experiment by writing about things you’d usually not write about. Several years ago I wrote a ridiculous song based on a childhood memory.
It went like this:

If you can push me over the window sill

I’d be ever grateful to you

After this last time I think I’ve had my fill

Of me playing the fool

The song was inspired by a specific memory from when I was a young kid. It’s considerably embarrassing, but I have no dignity and thus will share my embarrassment with you…

I was about 11 years old and my younger sister had some friends over. I thought it would be funny to put on a wig and paint my face like a clown to scare them. After plastering my face with this gunk, I reached to open the bathroom door… but it wouldn’t open. I pulled as hard as I could and it barely budged. Then I heard the sound of several little girls giggling... I was momentarily able to crack the door open wide enough to see that they had tied a rope to the door handle and were pulling it shut so I couldn’t get out. There’s a saying, “you can’t break a twig in a bundle”... well these little girls were quite a bundle, and evidently had no better thing to do than keep me stuck in the bathroom.

*PAUSE* now you may think I’ve shared the embarrassing part – being trapped in the bathroom by a bunch of little girls – but hang on.  *RESUME*

As I, the furious clown, tried to pull the door open, I concluded that I only had one option left: to climb out the bathroom window and launch a surprise attack. I opened the tiny bathroom window and *attempted* to climb out. As I snuck out I decided to try to go out feet first, facing up (very poor choice, young Silas).  As I slid out the window, the narrow groove that the window rests in dug into my back until I was stuck with the metallic edge digging in right under my shoulder blades… so there I was… a once happy clown, now a very sad clown. Stuck. Eventually I was pushed over the window sill by the help of one of my brothers. I needed help. It was an embarrassing situation, but had I been left to figure it out on my own, the damage certainly would have been greater.

How have you found yourself stuck due to your choices? Here’s something we know from God’s Word: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Our best efforts bring us no closer to the glory of God than a miserable clown stuck on a window sill. Yet in every failure and in every foolish act, I can rest in God’s gift of grace through Christ, for although we fall short of God’s glory, we are “justified by [God’s] grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:24)

The story of any one of us is in some measure the story of us all. - Frederick Buechner

Where are you today in your story? Have your plans led you to a painful place? The grace, love, and mercy of God is for you! One of the means of grace by which God ministers to us is through his church.

16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.

James 5:16

We need each other in the messiness of life - embarrassment and all. When we’re stuck, we need to be lifted up by our church family. We need community; we need grace; we need Jesus.

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

Reading for further study and worship: Psalm 51
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