Saturday, May 30, 2009

Mirey clay and Mississippi mud

As I was taking a run this morning, a song started running through my head. It's one you're probably familiar with cause it's used in many churches as a worship chorus..."Jesus, lover of my soul, Jesus, I will never let you go...." It was when I got to the third line that my mind took a of the advantages of being a little ADD I guess. It is the line, "You rescued me, from the miry clay" that got me thinking. Maybe it was the fact that my feet already felt like lead and I couldn't imagine having to pull them out of clay that got the wheels rolling, who knows. Anyway, remembered something that happened recently to a friend. I told him if he didn't tell this story, I would....cause there's a lesson to be learned.

It happened during a recent women's retreat my church sponsored. As timing would have it, it was the weekend we had a lot of terrible storms passing through the area. Lightning was popping everywhere, the night was filled with howling winds, and the next morning, the lake was so high that the picnic tables had floated away. Yep, it was one eventful weekend, but the excitement wasn't over yet.

You may have noticed I mentioned that this happened to a "he" and I said it was a women's retreat. One brave soul came with his wife to act as our sound man, heavy lift-it guy, etc. We were very thankful for him being there. However, as they say in the south..."you ain't from around here are ya." This young man was from an area of the country where mud isn't quite as prevalent as it is here in the deep south. We have mud that isn't just's more like glue. Given the chance, Mississippi mud will suck you in so fast you won't know what happened.

You've probably figured out where this story is going. The morning after the storm, this young man and his wife were going to drive their car from their cabin to the main meeting area. No problem, he'd driven in and out from there a couple of times already. Only this time, he got stuck. Not just a little stuck. I've never seen a car that buried in the mud. His car was resting on its axle! He was STUCK!!!

I think if he had realized how bad things could get, he'd have stopped and gotten help right away, but like most people he thought he'd just keep trying and eventually he'd drive out of that mud...but Mississippi mud is a little like doesn't want to let go. He just dug himself in deeper.

To his credit, he kept such a great attitude in all of this. Never once did I see him beat himself up, blow up, lose his cool....nothing. Perhaps he did it in private, but none of us saw it. He just took it in stride, finished out the retreat, and then went back to trying to get his car unstuck.

Eventually the camp owners came to help. They had a big pickup truck and tried to pull him out. No luck. They tried to dig him about a mess. I think they even broke a shovel in the process. Still stuck. It was time for some expert help, so a tow truck was called.

You're not going to believe this...the tow truck got stuck. Yep, plus the cable broke when the driver tried to get himself unstuck. This guy's reaction was MUCH different than my friends had been. He somewhat held his temper, but you could tell he was fuming with himself and the situation. So now the first tow truck had to call in his boss who brought a second tow truck. This one was massive and could have pulled out an eighteen wheeler...all for my friends little compact car...and the other tow truck.

Eventually they all got unstuck and drove merrily on their way....complete with a tree limb they pulled out from under the car and the mud that stayed on there for a week. This was definitely an adventure that got me to thinking. How many times do we find ourselves "stuck" in something we thought we could handle? Maybe it's sin; maybe it's venturing into an area we aren't yet equipped to handle. Whatever it is, the scenario is much the same. At first we try to get ourselves out....that's fine, but at some point we have to realize we are stuck. We need to call for help. If we call soon enough, perhaps all it will take is a friend to help pull us out. Don't let pride keep you from asking, because if you wait too long, it may take more to pull you out. Then, the one who tries to help can actually get stuck with you if they aren't prepared. You get the picture.

There's an even greater lesson that I saw and it was in this young man's face. At no point did he seem alarmed or dismayed. He knew he'd be okay....I think that's the countenance that comes from someone who knows that no matter what life throws at them, God is in control. He will rescue from the miry clay and set your feet upon a rock....even if you're stuck in the clay because of a wrong decision you made. God loves you too much to ever let go. I guess God is the really big tow truck...the one that can really rescue you from what is trying to suck you under.

So with apologies to Hillsong for slightly changing the words, because I trust God's grip far more than I trust my own....."Jesus, lover of my soul....Jesus, You will never let me go. You rescued me, from the miry clay and set my feet upon a rock and now I know. I love you, I need you. Though my world may fall You'll never let me go....." Now that's good news.

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