The Miry Bog

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Contributed by Chad Seidler, Director of Ministry/Assistant to Lead Pastor at Image Church

Happy Thanksgiving!  I trust that each of you had a wonderful start to what hopes to be an exciting Holiday season.

As I considered what I was going to write about this week, I had decided on compiling a list of many of the things that I’m thankful for this year.  It’s been quite a year for me and my family, and I thought it would be healthy to do.  However, I never got around to posting it online, as I had very little computer access this week since we were on vacation in Mississippi.

We drove through the night on Saturday to return home, just in time to make it to the late Gathering at Image Church.  As Rhody concluded the Challenge 77 series, he shared from one of David’s Psalms that speaks very clearly of the foundation that we, as believers, share in Christ.  It is truly one of the things I’m most thankful for this Holiday season.  Check this out…

Psalm 40 – I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry.  He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.  He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.  Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.

This past Tuesday, my son Noah and I went fishing with my Uncle Finis.  It was our second day of fishing, and I was very much looking forward to it.  Evidently, Noah didn’t need to fish a second day, as he was still spinning his fish tales about how he and Finis had caught 100 fish the previous day.  (It was actually around 25, but all fishermen have an ingrained ability to exaggerate.)  So as Finis and I fished the pond by his house, I kept a close eye on Noah as he circled the pond and played in the pasture. Of course, it didn’t help to give him any instructions, as he was going to do what any 5-year-old boy was going to do in that circumstance – explore and get in some type of predicament.

About 20 minutes later, Noah called out for me from the other side of the pond – “Dad, I’m stuck…Help me!”  As I approached him, I couldn’t see his shoes at all…his feet were completely buried in mud up above his ankles.  He couldn’t budge and definitely needed help.  I pulled him out and set him up on a bank to clean him off and let the mud dry.  As I got him somewhat cleaned, I told him that he shouldn’t get so close to the muddy area next time, or the same thing would happen again.  “I know that, Dad…I’m OK.”  And off he went…

It wasn’t but a half hour later that I looked back across the pond, only to see Noah stuck in the same exact spot!  This time, though, he was quiet about it, and so was I.  I watched him for a couple of minutes, as he tried to get himself loose of the mud.  I wish I could have been privy to his thoughts – “I can’t let Dad see me…Why didn’t I listen and learn the last time…I can’t ask for help…I can get out on my own.”  The more he tried to help himself, the worse-off he got, until he completely lost his balance and went entirely into the pond.  All pride lost and options exhausted, Noah finally cried for help, and I was right there to pull him out of the muck a second time.  My initial reaction probably wasn’t the best – “What were you thinking?  Don’t you ever listen?  Why do I have to stop what I’m enjoying to help you?”  After we walked back to the house and I gave Noah quite the hose bath out in the yard, we talked about what happened, shared a laugh about the whole ordeal and all was well.

As I was reminded again of Psalm 40 yesterday, I couldn’t help but think of Noah and the pond.  Actually, I couldn’t stop thinking about myself.  Tell me if this sounds familiar…

  • I make a terrible decision and get stuck in the muck of my life.
  • God is there to pull me out.
  • I think I’ve learned a lesson, only to turn immediately around and get stuck again.
  • God is there to pull me out.

Again and again.  The Apostle Paul describes how I feel the best in Romans 7:15-25 (click to read the passage).  He’s talking about himself, but I certainly feel the same way every day. 

I can picture God looking at me from the other side of the pond, watching me try to rescue myself from my self-imposed muck, and He’s thinking, “Cry out for me…I’m here for you!”

Which brings me full circle to what I’m thankful for not only this Holiday season, but each day of my life.  I’m so thankful that I serve a God who is loving, faithful and forgiving.  He’s rescued me from a life that was destined for death.  He continues to rescue me daily each time I take my eyes off Him and place them on self.

We closed yesterday’s Gathering by singing Psalm 40 (click here).  The song closes with these words – “How long to sing this song?”

To me, the answer’s quite simple – I will sing this new song of praise that God has given me every day while I’m here on this finite earth, and then every moment when I’m with Him in glory!

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