Throughout our spiritual journeys there are times when we just get stuck. We get trapped in our circumstances and mind and no matter what we try, we can’t get things to change. It can become almost unbearable and sometimes it goes on for extended periods of time. It could be that God is dealing with an area of our flesh or sin nature that we have been unable or unwilling to deal with and it is holding us back.
Aron Ralston was someone who liked to climb and go for trail runs out in the desert. In 2003 he became trapped by an 800 pound boulder when he slipped into a canyon and the boulder shifted to crush his hand and trap him to the canyon wall. The movie 127 Hours tells his story in gruesome detail. Aron stayed trapped for six days until he finally came to terms with the only way out of the canyon alive, he had to cut off his own arm and leave it behind.
I believe God allows us to get trapped in circumstances that cause us to take a look at pieces of us that have us stuck. It can be a sin pattern an unhealthy relationship, and old wound we won’t or can’t address, it’s something that is hindering us from going deeper with God.
Whatever the reason, we get trapped, like Aron Ralson, in a spiritual canyon and no one can help us out. Often times others can’t even relate to where we are let alone help us get out. We can talk about it, pray about it, study about it, yell, scream and cry but the only way out is to leave a little flesh behind. In other words to get out of the trap we are in, we are going to have to cut out of our life the part of us that has us stuck by turning it over to God. This isn’t a question of salvation because that is a free gift. It is a question of whether Jesus has our whole heart after we are secure in relationship with Him or are we trapped by the areas of our life that are preventing Him from capturing our whole heart and setting us free.
Aron stayed in the canyon for 6 days until he could see that his options were to save the arm and die or give up the arm and live.
Matthew 16:25 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.
We won’t experience abundant life until our life is turned over completely to Jesus. Aron wasn’t living life while his arm was trapped. He couldn’t do anything that would be considered truly living. In an interview with Tom Brokaw the following exchange is made in the very canyon Aron was trapped in as he describes the moment his arm became severed from his body.
Aron: And then boom I wasn’t even attached anymore. And I fell down like this..(chokes with emotion)… I was free.
Brokaw: You were reborn.
Aron: (chokes again with emotion)… That was the happiest moment of my life.
I believe this expresses the moments of joy and release when God sets us free from the flesh patterns in our lives that are holding us back. But that release requires us to let Him have whatever is holding us back and we typically won’t let go of it until there are no other options because we have probably been holding on to it for so long that we are attached to it.
John 15:1 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.
To really be free and productive, the way Jesus wants us to be free, the father will prune our lives, which means we are going to have to leave a little flesh behind.