“. . . trapped . . .”
“Happy are those who remain faithful under trials, because when they succeed in passing such a test, they will receive as their reward the life which God has promised to those who love him.  If we are tempted by such trials, we must not say, ‘This temptation comes from God.’ For God cannot be tempted by evil, and he himself tempts no one.  But we are tempted when we are drawn away and trapped by our own evil desires.  Then our evil desires conceive and give birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.” (James 1:12-15)
Trapped . . .  What a terrible, terrible feeling.  The overwhelming sense of “there’s no way out” is one of the worst we can experience because it’s one of the last steps on the path to despair.  I was reminded of being trapped last week when I got in my car on a warm day and discovered all the droplets of water on the inside of a bottle of water.
The water in the bottom of the bottle was warmed to vapor, then tried to escape, only to be trapped by the curved sides of the top of the bottle and the cap.  The vapor collected on the sides as droplets of water and just sat there – trapped. 

Bad things happen, don’t they?  How many times have I stood by a hospital bed or sat in my office with another and listened to them talk about the terrible things that were happening to them.  On several occasions they would ask, “Is God testing me?”  Remembering the words from James above, I always would answer, “NO!  I don’t know why some bad things happen but I know it’s not a test from the God of grace I know through Christ.”  The God I follow leads us on a path of life, not despair. 

I guess James is making the point that sometimes when we find ourselves trapped by our unhealthy decisions it’s easier to blame God than it is to face the reality that we made decisions that led to our entrapment.  The key to our release is not our denial and blame, but rather, our admission.  I’ve seen folks confront someone who has hurt them and watched as the person who did the hurting tried everything in their power to deny their culpability.  Because they were afraid to admit their failure, the other was not able to offer forgiveness.  The one who had done the hurting remained trapped in their prison of guilt.  Both were denied the restoration of relationship. 

I do not believe that God tests us, but I do believe that God keeps offering us grace that can free us from entrapment and grace that can help us make the healthy choices necessary to keep us from further entrapment.  It is critically important that when we feel trapped we acknowledge our predicament and take God’s offer of grace and forgiveness.  If not, entrapment can lead not only to despair, but even more dangerous behaviors that can inflict further pain upon our selves and others.  I pray that with God’s help I can choose life and help others do the same.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and

Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on March 26, 2014.

One Response to “Trapped”

  1. How do I love you!! let me count the ways. I do not want to “temt” you with the sin of pride, but is a blessing to rread yor Lord inspired writtings.

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