Do you remember the Johnny Jumpers? Those cool little bouncy seats that you attach to a door frame for your baby to bounce it. Boy did I love our Johnny Jumper. Each of my children loved the freedom they found with each jump as they kicked their little legs and soared up a solid two inches off the ground, giggling and smiling.
For my oldest child this provided her with hours of entertainment each week. But the second two didn’t have the same experience, not that they didn’t love the toy, they did, they just played on it differently. Or rather, the younger two had the experience of being swung in it like a swing and that was far more interesting to them than jumping.
I remember one day, I was standing in the kitchen preparing dinner, my oldest was swinging her younger sister in the johnny jumper when all of a sudden the sounds changed. My older daughter began calling to me “mom! She is stuck!” I turned around to see that somehow the jumper had gotten twisted around behind the door and my daughter was stuck up in the air. Not very high mind you, but her big sister couldn’t free her.
With very little effort I was able to untangle the straps and set the jumper back to it’s original location. No big deal, but you would have thought I just did the most incredible thing based on the reaction of my daughter. She jumped (well, sorta jumped, it took her many years to master that motor skill) up and down squealing with delight. Her baby was not stuck anymore.
Sometimes life can be like this, we can be swinging along having a grand old time, and then trouble hits and our momentum is lost. Sometimes throwing us for a loop that makes us feel stuck.
This has happened to me a time or two. I have found myself stuck in the pain caused by trials, loss, difficult times, and heartache. I know what it feels like to stare at life through the murky glass of a frosted window of agony. I know what it is like to allow myself to get stuck and wallow in that pain, crying out to God to set me free, but not giving up the control of my feelings in order to allow Him to. Even so, sometimes God takes away the pain – if for no other reason than to give me relief, and other times, when I am open to receiving it, he gives me the strength to endure the pain and get through it.
As I am working through some difficulties now and experiencing the pain associated with these difficulties, I am trying to allow this experience to strengthen my faith and build my endurance. I know the Lord is a loving Father who does not want His children to suffer, but rather He wants what is best for us. So when I get stuck, He comes close and walks beside me as I work through my struggles and pain.
For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you. Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,’ declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel. Isaiah 41:13-14