It’s a claustrophobic’s worst nightmare. Many people think a claustrophobic reaction comes from closed-in spaces, but the real anxiety comes from being trapped with no way out. I deal with this, and speak from experience. It has brought sadness to my life, like the time I couldn’t climb the clock tower at Old Main because the staircase was too narrow and steep. I stood a the bottom step and couldn’t see the top step, and my body shut down. I missed the chance to see my Alma Mater from a wonderful view.
It also results in sermon illustrations, like the time I got trapped in a very, very small bathroom in a Paris restaurant. The entire bathroom was dark green marble, and when the door handle spun in my hand as I tried to leave, the walls closed in around me. Remember the garbage compactor room scene in Star Wars when Luke, Leia, Han and Chewie almost got crushed by the walls moving toward them as they stood on all that nasty garbage? That is what I felt like that day, and I lost my cool as I yelled loudly for help. In Spanish. Yep, seven years of French flew out the window as I yelled, “Assister Moi, POR FAVOR!” Finally a busboy heard me and got a screwdriver and freed me. He must have been from Spain.
Have you ever felt trapped?
There are many things in life that trap us. Bad choices, circumstance, family responsibilities, and illness are just a few things that result in a feeling of being stuck with no way out. Sin is probably the greatest trapper of all, and the effects of sin can trap not only the sinners, but the people around them.
I know a married couple who are trapped because one cannot face his alcoholism. I know another who are trapped because of an addiction to pornography. Both of these families are trapped in a cycle of loneliness, fear, confrontation, anger, arguing, and apology. And then the cycle repeats itself. Dirt, wash, rinse, repeat.
Other things trap us as well; despair, depression, anger, fear….even just holding a grudge can be a bear trap that carries the weight of steel teeth around our ankles.
Jonah once was trapped. He was trapped by reluctance and disobedience to do what God commanded. He didn’t realize that you can ‘t outrun God, so he fled to a place where he thought he could escape, only to find himself being thrown off a ship and swallowed up by a big fish. For three days, he was trapped inside. Can you even imagine the smell? Finally, he submitted:
ABUNDANTLY anxiety antithesis It’s