If you have ever watched any classic movies, there may have been a scene where someone is dramatically caught in quicksand. They appear to be sinking/drowning in it with no way out. Quite often, a daring rescue occurs, but in some cases, the character in the movie drowns in the quicksand. In reality, drowning in quicksand is nearly impossible since it is pretty shallow.
However, like any agitated situation, quicksand can lead to some harmful effects. For example, dehydration or permanent nerve damage can result if someone is trapped in it for an extended time (over 6 hours). So, unless you know how to free yourself, it has the potential to create a harmful outcome. Geologists conclude that the most reliable way to escape quicksand, is to find a solid object that can be used to pull you out.
The current situation blanketing our country in fear, unrest, and violence, is a perfect metaphor for being trapped in quicksand. Getting caught up in the virtual reports, watching the visual images, listening to endless opinions and commentaries, keeps our focus on the problem rather than on the solution. What you see and hear is shaky and subject to change at any moment.
If you get trapped in these things and begin to struggle, it becomes harder to escape. Volunteering, donating money, food or time, or organizing and being part of a protest, are well-intended actions. But none of this is a solution.
A solution is a process that provides a set of variables (actions) that lead to solving the problem. In other words, examine the cause of the existing circumstance, and then develop a process that solves the problem. In mathematical terms, it is called problem-solving which begins with finding and taking the necessary steps that lead to the solution.
Looking to our authoritative representatives for direction and a meaningful process for a solution, is like dropping a glass that splinters with no clue where the pieces will fall or what they will hit.
One of the parables in the Bible tells the story of two builders. (Matthew 7:24). One man constructed his house on a solid foundation of rock. He followed all of the building regulations. When the rain, wind, and floods came, this man’s house remained standing. Two blocks away, another man built his house on sand, ignoring the building guidelines. Needless to say, when powerful weather elements arose, its shaky foundation collapsed, and he had to start all over again.
A similar example of why building a solid foundation can be a life and death situation is found in the children’s story of the Three Little Pigs. Two of the pigs built their houses at super band-aid speed so they could have more time to goof around and play. The third little pig built his house as if it were going to be featured in a magazine of beautiful shelters. His home was sturdy, made out of solid materials.
The pigs had a nemesis—a hungry wolf who loved to devour pork. He destroyed the houses of the first two pigs, but they managed to escape his clutches to see another day. The wolf became angry and was hungrier than ever, having missed his meal of the other two. He decided to take vengeance against the “piggy” who built his house on a sturdy foundation.
The conclusion: Mister “Big Bad Wolf” huffed and puffed but was unable to get to the third pig or destroy his house. He ended up being a delectable meal for the three little pigs. https://americanliterature.com/childrens-stories/the-three-little-pigs.
Every situation that produces fear or hatred is a problem. Like quicksand, the solution to escape is in grabbing onto a solid object that will help get you out of the mess.
Why did we adopt “In God We Trust” as our national motto, as well as imprint it on our currency if we will not trust Him? No person, elected or otherwise, has ever duplicated God’s military strategy that brought down the 12-foot-high Jericho Wall and destroyed an entire city without firing a shot. (Joshua 6:1-26) God had a fail-safe process and He used people who listened to His instructions and then carried out His plan.
The solution to COVID-19 and racial turmoil is in God. He is the solid foundation for our healing and restoration. Let’s carefully listen to get instructions from Him and then carry out His plan.
I am not sure how many of you are familiar with the story of Little Red Riding Hood. If not, let’s just say it has one of the most important lessons in your life journey. The evil character in the story is a hungry wolf who causes Little Red Riding Hood’s grandmother harm and then schemes to eat Little Red Riding Hood.
The wolf outruns Little Red Riding Hood as she walks through the woods and gets to Grandma’s house ahead of her. He disguises himself as her grandmother and while using a fake voice (a lie), the wolf pretends to be the old lady. He intends to fool the young girl and give himself an opportunity to harm her. Fortunately, Little Red Riding Hood escapes his clutches unharmed and spoils his mealtime.
In today’s environment, with all of the colossal, unexpected situations and changes, you will hear lots of voices. Some come from within your inner self (memories). Others come from outward influences like the news, your spouse, your family, and friends. Sadly, many of these voices carry messages that negatively mess with your mind. It only takes a word the size of a popcorn kernel to cause a fierce battle between who you genuinely are and who others say you are.
These voices suggest something is wrong with you, or they bring up your past mistakes to remind you of a screw-up. They blame-shift, causing you to feel guilty, put your self-worth in the garbage can, make you feel like a loser, and paint a vision of a “no way out” of the situation. This can instill fear of the future and the possibility of death.
On the other hand, there is one voice that always builds you up. Here are some biblical examples of people, who were anything but perfect in living their lives, yet were valuable in God’s eyes:
Low self-worth, lacking in faith: God calls him: “A mighty man of valor” (warrior). With divine help, Gideon ends up saving Israel with only a few hundred men against an army of thousands. (Judges 6: 11- 39; 7:1-22)
Shepherd, adulterer, less than perfect father: God calls him: “A man after his own heart.” (I Samuel 13:14); became King of Israel. (2 Samuel 5:3)
Murderer, stutterer, undisciplined temper, fearful: God calls him to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt. (Exodus 3: 10-12)
Prostitute, Canaanite (hated enemies of Israel), liar: God calls her “A woman of faith." (Hebrews: 11:31) Protector of spies sent by Joshua to Jericho to spy out the land for military action; she saves her family from destruction at Jericho; an ancestor of Jesus. Joshua (2:4-21) (Hebrews 11:31)
Since grandmothers can sometimes occupy a place in the minds of children as magical, can you imagine Little Red Riding Hood’s surprise when she enters her grandmother’s house and sees her with big pointed ears and a row of razor-sharp teeth smiling at her? As soon as the wolf, disguised as her grandmother, greets her (fake voice, lie), she senses danger.
Whenever you hear a voice(s) that condemns, blames, puts you down or attacks your self-worth, it is always--yes ALWAYS--a fake (lie) and acts like a loaded weapon, whose purpose is to wound or kill. The authentic, genuine voice of truth encourages, is upbeat, and its companions are optimism and hopefulness.
Any voice that sabotages the checklist of who you really are in God’s eyes and dimishes your value, is fake. You should sense the harm in this type of voice and refuse to let it occupy space in your life.