Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Have you ever been between a rock and a hard place? Apostle Paul spent time there, and his experience helps me see my circumstances in perspective.

“I have worked much harder, been in prison more frequently, been flogged more severely, and been exposed to death again and again. Five times I received from the Jews the forty lashes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, I spent a night and a day in the open sea, I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my own countrymen, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false brothers.

“I have labored and toiled and have often gone without sleep; I have known hunger and thirst and have often gone without food; I have been cold and naked. Besides everything else, I face daily the pressure of my concern for all the churches” (2 Corinthians 11:23-28 NIV).

“In Damascus the governor…had the city…guarded in order to arrest me. But I was lowered in a basket from a window in the wall and slipped through his hands” (2 Corinthians 11:32-33 NIV).

I’ve been in hard places but I can’t top that. I have friends who can. What’s your heartbreak? Lost your job due to the economy and financially desperate? Lost your spouse through death or desertion? Health failing/awaiting test results? Grieving over a prodigal child? Overwhelmed with caregiving responsibilities?

Many of us understand all too well the Psalmist’s cry.

“Save me, O God, for the waters are come in unto my soul…I am come into deep waters where the floods overflow me” (Psalm 69:1-2). My translation: I’m up to my neck and trying to keep my head above water!

Paul understood hard things happened to him for a purpose—furtherance of the gospel. In his circumstances the Lord was magnified and his own character strengthened. He focused on the benefits. “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope…” (Romans 5:3-4).

Remember Paul’s struggle with something he called a “thorn in the flesh”? He asked the Lord three times to remove it. The Lord said, “My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness” (see 2 Corinthians 12:7-10).

One translation says, “my power shows up best in weak people.” Don’t you love that? My weakness gives God an opportunity to display his power.

Paul didn’t expect “no” for an answer. His response: “Most gladly therefore willI rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

God has a program for carefree living.

I discovered it while writing a book about for my lifelong friend, Evangelist Walter St. Clair. He lived in Florida so I spent about 100 hours on the phone interviewing him. He ended almost every conversation, saying, “Let me give you a verse.” Repeatedly he quoted a familiar one, Psalm 55:22.

“Cast thy burden upon the Lord and He shall sustain thee. He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.”

That promise became engraved on my heart. One day I ran into a friend I hadn’t seen since childhood.  She shared her heartbreak. Her husband had left her and she was working two jobs to make ends meet. I wanted to encourage her and promised to send her one of my books. Signing the book, I wrote a note: “Remembering carefree days.”

Suddenly the Lord spoke in my heart. I still have a program for carefree living. Cast your burden upon the Lord, and He will sustain you.  He will never suffer the righteous to be moved. 

Casting every care on him is God’s program for carefree living! Once in a hard place, I cried out, “Oh, God this is out of my hands!” He said: And you’re crying because it’s out of your feeble hands and into my Almighty hands?”

His Almighty hands…the safe place for all my cares. But casting our cares on the Lord is not a once-forever event. Circumstances change. New cares disrupt our lives. So we keep casting them on Jesus.

Casting our burdens on him changes our mindset from desperation and anxiety to confident expectation. He can do something about our circumstance. He has a reputation for doing the impossible.

Are you between a rock and a hard place? Cast your cares on the Lord and praise him!

I found my declaration of praise in Deuteronomy 32:3-4 NIV.

I will proclaim the name of the Lord.

Oh, praise the greatness of our God!

He is the Rock, his works are perfect, and all his ways are just.

A faithful God who does no wrong, upright and just is he.

He is the Rock! That means I’m between the Rock and a sweet place!

I’d love to know where you are. And please share this with friends who need to know they are between the Rock and a sweet place.

© Dianne Barker 2019

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