Feeling Surrounded?

He has hedged me in so that I cannot get out; He has made my chain heavy (Lamentations 3:7)
When you are boxed in by your circumstances, even the most fearless person will feel claustrophobic.  Once you are surrounded by money troubles, relationship troubles, stress at work, deadlines, health problems, surgeries, death of a loved one, or any number of “momentary troubles” – you can feel overwhelmed to the point of wishing you would die.  
Trouble overwhelms you greatly so that you know that you are not God, and cannot possibly take care of everything that comes your way.  Sometimes we are reaping what we have sown – we can’t rack up credit card debt and think it will never catch up to us.  But other times, we are getting what we do not deserve – a co-worker spreading lies about you to your boss.  Or someone could be picking on us because of the way that we were born in the form of bullying.
It seems unfair.  Life is unfair.  You can even start to understand what Job meant when he says it would have been better that he’d never been born.
But when life seems to be pressing in on you from every side:  it comes from the right, left, front and back.  Realize now that there are two openings – up and down.  We may not be responsible for our circumstances, but we are responsible for how we respond to them.
I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live. (Deuteronomy 30:19)
I used to wonder what kind of choice this was.  Who wouldn’t choose life?  Then I realized the results of my “boxed in” analogy.  When you have the choice to look up or down, it’s so much easier to look down.  The ground is so much closer and more tangible than heaven.   It seems more real and realistic to curse the “one” who boxed you in, than to praise Him.
So that is our choice.  Do you look up to the one who allowed you to be boxed in, or do you curse Him?  That has always been our choice all along.  When things are going perfectly our way, we get easily distracted.  We start to feel like we have all kinds of choices and can go all kinds of ways.  We can give an appreciative nod toward heaven, and forget about the ground.
But when we are hedged in and surrounded by our troubles, we can either get depressed and hateful – some even decide that this must mean there is no God.  Or we can look up and praise Him, and call upon his promises.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not over flow you.  When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you. (Isaiah 43:2)
He has promised that no matter how much we feel the pressures that surround us will kill us – He will make sure they do not.  The fires of anger that burn around us - will not scorch us.  The deluge of troubles that threaten to drown us in despair - will not overcome us.
Do you trust Him?  Do you believe Him?  If you do, then look up! You have hope, and you have help.  If you hold His hand through the troubles that surround you, then you can say like Paul:
We are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed – always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. (2 Corinthians 4:8-10)

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