Feeling Stuck? Try Time Travel.
Updated: Jul 25, 2020
As of today, April 16th, 2020, the whole world has been put on hold. The coronavirus has invaded our country and it has drastically impacted our daily lives. We are all expected to stay at home, but we are all still expected to get our work done, to make our rent payments, and find ways to stay healthy. Mostly, however, we are expected to wait. And waiting can be really hard. Many of our favorite things have been taken away from us. Entire sports seasons been cancelled, traveling has become dangerous, and recently it has felt too cold to even go outside for a walk. We are at the point where COVID-19 isn’t only impacting our daily routine, but it is affecting us emotionally as well. Recently, I have had conversation after conversation with people who are feeling “stuck”. If I’m being honest I’ve been feeling the same way. There seems like there is nothing we can do. All of us are feeling something right now. You might feel bored, or stressed, or scared. You might feel angry or frustrated. You might even feel depressed and hopeless in this strange season. Whatever it is that you are feeling, I’m guessing that it is probably not a very positive emotion. Together we are stuck and there is nothing we can really do except sit back and wait, and maybe look forward to the days when things go back to “normal”. As I’ve been thinking a lot about the different ways that people are feeling. I came across a particular Psalm that seemed quite relevant to the current state of the world and I think it gives a great picture of how many of us might be feeling right now. Here are a few verses from Psalm 77:
“Will the Lord spurn forever, and never again be favorable? Has his steadfast love forever ceased? Are his promises at an end for all time? Has God forgotten to be gracious? Has he in anger shut up his compassion?” - v. 7-9
Isn’t this exactly how many of us feel? We are waiting for God to show up. We are waiting for God to keep his promises, and to be gracious, and to show compassion. What we are really feeling is “when will God be good again?”. And so we are stuck with no control. Stuck at home. But I am going to propose an idea. You see, I think that while we are physically “stuck” at home, we all can use a particular superpower that can make us feel a little less stuck and little more positive. And every single one of us has this ability. We can travel through time. Let’s look at the next few verses of Psalm 77:
"Then I said, “I will appeal to this, to the years of the right hand of the Most High.” I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old. I will ponder all your work, and meditate on your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is holy. What god is great like our God? You are the God who works wonders; you have made known your might among the peoples.” - v. 10-14
Remembering is a really important theme throughout the entire Bible. Here, the Psalmist emphasizes the importance of Remembering what is true. He is remembering the things that God has done in his life. What the Psalmist is really doing is traveling back in time by remembering what is good, even when his current circumstance doesn’t seem good at all. We all have a memory. Each of us should all think of our memory as our own personal time machine that can help us realize just how good God actually is. Our memory can take us back to those unforgettable moments where God actually showed up, and actually came though, and actually showed his faithfulness toward us. Our memory is especially important during strange seasons of life, just like this one. Seasons of life where the good God that we know, doesn’t seem to be all that good anymore. And this is where things get really cool! Not only does the Psalmist look at the past so see what God HAS done, but he also looks into the future. He remembers what God WILL do. The Psalmist remembers the promises of God. He remembers the character of God. It gets even cooler, though! When you time travel to the past and remember what God HAS done, and you time travel to the future and remember what God WILL do, you will begin to understand that God's plan is the very best plan. This rarely makes sense in a single hard moment, or even a single hard season of life. But, when we look at our past, and our present, we see a consistent pattern. We see the pattern that, every single time, God’s Plan is way better than our own plan. Even right now, when we are feeling sad, or frustrated, or scared, or…(insert your own emotion)…we don’t need to feel “stuck”, because we know that, even right now, we are is very best place. Right here, right now, in our own homes. I want to share a very brief story about the scariest moment of my life: When I was a junior in High School, my brother, Caleb, and I went on a two week road trip to Colorado to explore the mountains and go camping. We ended up hearing about this place called Conundrum Hot Spring. This hot spring was close to the top of a mountain and we thought it sounded like the perfect place to set up camp for a few days. The only problem was that it was about a 9 mile hike to the hot spring. We filled our school backpacks with as much food, firewood, and clothing as we could. We both carried gallon jugs of water in each hand and we began our way up. Keep in mind, we thought this hike was going to be like a steep walk, not really a climb. We were wearing skateboarding shoes, sweatshirts, and we each had roughly 40 pounds on our backs. We started the hike around 2pm and we thought, if we walk roughly 3 miles per hour, well be there by 5pm maybe 6pm no problem. As our hike turned into a climb, the temperature on the mountain began to drop and it began to rain on and off. By about 9pm, not only could we not find the hot spring, but by that time the temperature had dropped to below freezing and we were soaking wet from rain. Our 40 pound backpacks felt a lot more like 60 pounds. With no warmth, no cell phone service, and not a single other person knowing that we decided to make this climb, I was almost certain that we were going to die. We ended up running our way back down the 9 miles in the pitch black night, in a temperature below freezing, in an unknown forest. The small streams that we crossed on the way up had become waist deep rivers by the time we started our journey down the mountain. After hours running down the mountain in panic and fear, we made it back to our car safely. It was the scariest experience of my entire life by far. Heres the reason I tell that story:
Sometimes we feel stuck. We have nowhere to go, nothing to do. We have no control. Sometimes we find ourself in the hardest, or saddest, or scariest scenarios we have ever been in (like a pandemic). But when I look back at the experience I had in Colorado with my brother, it may have been a complete waste. It may have been incredible foolish. And even though it was easily the scariest moment of my entirely life, it’s may have also been the very best thing I have ever experience in my entire life. I would not trade that adventure for anything else in the world. And when I look back that story, I think about how I was so scared and so dependent on God. And God came through for my brother and me. God kept us safe. We are not wasting time being “stuck at home”, because today, God is doing something so amazing that we will probably never fully understand until finally arrive safe and sound at our true home. Philippians 4:8-9 says this:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
My challenge for you is this: find a way to Remember what God has done in your life. Remember the good stuff. Remember what God HAS done for you. Remember what God WILL do. Remember the times that God has came through for you and saved you from your own foolish mountain climb.
Personally, I really enjoy journaling. I have journal after journal filled with all the amazing ways that God has shown his grace to me. There is something really cool about going back through one of my old journals and seeing all the different moments of my life I have experienced. Having a little book of you’re travels through time and space is incredibly rewarding and I think that you’ll find the same is true for you, if you try it. However, I am very aware that not everyone enjoys writing. You might keep little souvenirs that represent experiences instead (maybe keep something like your protective face mask as a reminder of COVID-19). You could also take pictures that help you remember specific people, or places, or stories where God has shown up in your life (my instagram is full of photos that represent what God is teaching me: @benhersheyloves). Find your own way to remember the good things that God HAS done and the good things that He promises He WILL do. I think that you’ll the simple act of remembering, might help you break through the feeling of being “stuck”. You’ll find your travels through time to be entirely worth it. Plus, its probably the safest form of travel right now! ;) Hope this was helpful. with Grace & Peace,