I recently flew on Southwest Airlines and discovered the world’s smallest airplane lavatory. I’m talking really, really small. I’m not a large person, and I banged my shoulders on the walls as I tried to maneuver around. As I washed my hands, I had to breathe deeply, move fast, and concentrate on what I was doing to hold my claustrophobia at bay.

Claustrophobia is not just a fear of small spaces, it is a fear of getting trapped. As I reached for the door handle, the inevitable thought flashed though my mind: what if it doesn’t open? What if I get stuck in here? What if panic takes over?

We get trapped in all kinds of places and situations by all kinds of things and people. I have a friend who is trapped in a bad relationship and can’t find her way out. Another is trapped by addiction. A third is trapped in his credit card debt. Our world is trapped by a pandemic that caught us by its teeth and won’t let go as it shakes us back and forth in an effort to snap our collective neck. Bad choices, bad luck, bad friends, and bad timing can make us feel immobilized and helpless.

What can you do when you feel trapped?

Our psalm today addresses this issue, and reminds us that the Lord is FOR us. This concept is so important, the psalmist repeats it twice:

Psalm 124 (Common English Bible)

If the Lord hadn’t been for us—
    let Israel now repeat!—
    if the Lord hadn’t been for us,
        when those people attacked us
then they would have swallowed us up whole
        with their rage burning against us!

Remembering that the Lord is for you is crucial when it comes to finding the strength to pry open the steel jaws of what has you trapped. God can overcome the raging waters and the enemies’ teeth when we are too weak to help ourselves.

Then the waters would have drowned us;
    the torrent would have come over our necks;
    then the raging waters would have come over our necks!

Bless the Lord
    because he didn’t hand us over
    like food for our enemies’ teeth!

What has you trapped today? Your help comes in the name of the Lord. He made heaven and earth! He surely can reach down and release you from the hunters’ snare. All you need to do is ASK. Prayer makes all the difference in an imprisoned life.

We escaped like a bird from the hunters’ trap;
    the trap was broken so we escaped!

There is nothing in life that you can’t escape if you turn yourself over to the Lord. In fact, there is nothing in death that you can’t escape either. When Jesus was crucified, died, was buried, and then on the third day arose from the dead, he opened up an escape hatch that can never be shut. Do you believe that? I do.

So no matter what has you by the teeth, cry out to the Lord of all creation and ask for freedom. It will be hard. You will have to do your part and make the difficult and exhausting changes that are required. But the good news is, God has come to deliver you, and he will walk beside you toward your freedom. You are never alone.

He is the Truth, and the truth will set you free.

Our help is in the name of the Lord,
    the maker of heaven and earth.

Thanks be to God.

Freedom Awaits by Michelle Robertson

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