By Tim Sullivan


Have you ever faced problems so overwhelming that you felt like you were sinking in deep mud? The Psalmist knew this experience all too well.

Psalm 69:1-3:
Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.
2 I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing: I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me.
3 I am weary of my crying: my throat is dried: mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.

Anyone who has ever been stuck in the mud knows that the more you struggle to get out, the deeper you sink. This is true whether the mud is physical, psychological or spiritual. You need a helping hand, someone to lift you OUT of your situation.

Psalm 40:1-2:
I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry.
2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.

This is not a message about ELIMINATING your problems. Sure, we might wish there was such a thing, some secret formula or “ten-step solution” guaranteed to eliminate all turmoil from your life. But as long as the devil is free to roam this world, as long as man is burdened with a sin nature, there is no “cure-all” for eliminating problems.

This is a sermon about OVERCOMING your problems. That is, of course, something altogether different. That is something REAL.

We have all seen the pictures small children draw of their moms and dads. These drawings all have one thing common: The eyes are always drawn on the TOP of the head! Children draw what they see. From their perspective – looking UP at a taller person – the eyes look like they are on the forehead. Try it yourself!

The first step in overcoming ANY problem you may face is knowing how to look at it. How you look at your problems depends entirely on your perspective. Are you stuck in the mud, looking UP at your problem, or are you standing ON THE ROCK, looking DOWN?

When you are stuck in the mud, even the smallest problem seems overwhelming. When you are standing on the ROCK, even the biggest problem seems small. When you are stuck in the mud, it seems like your problems will last forever. When you are standing on the ROCK, you realize how temporal your problem really is. Yes, it is all in how you look at it.

Years ago, I was employed as a high rise window cleaner. Hanging off the side of a building, the people on the streets below looked very small, very insignificant. I was certain that like all people, they each had their share of problems. But from my heavenly vantage point, their problems looked oh so very small.

How small our problems must look to God! How we insult his holy name when we think that our problems are bigger than he!

It is not who Christ is that makes the difference in our lives. Jesus Christ is the Savior, whether or not anyone believes it. It is what you and I believe about Christ that determines whether you are stuck in the mud or standing on the rock.

Matthew 16:13-18 (emphasis added):
When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and UPON THIS ROCK I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

What do YOU believe about Christ? Who do YOU say that he is? Do you believe Jesus is your “help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16), or do you believe that he is waiting for you to climb out of the mud yourself?

It all comes down to this: Who is bigger to you, your PROBLEMS or your GOD?

Psalm 27:1-3:
The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell.
3 Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.

We all face times in life when we are tempted to be afraid. In an odd way, I have learned that my fears can actually be a great help to me. My fears tell me when I am trusting in myself instead of trusting in God. My fears tell me that I am stuck in the mud, and that it is high time to get back ON THE ROCK. When I am standing ON THE ROCK I have confidence, because I know there is NO problem greater than my GOD!

John 16:33b:
... In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Therefore, we have victory when we put our faith in the one who overcame the world!

1 John 5:4b:
... And this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.

The next time you face problems so overwhelming to you that you are tempted to be afraid, call upon the Lord, your ever present help in time of need. He alone is able to pull you out of the mud and set you on the ROCK. And, as I am sure you will see, things look very different when you are standing on the ROCK!

Psalm 27:5:
For in the time of trouble he shall hide me in his pavilion: in the secret of his tabernacle shall he hide me; he shall set me up upon a rock.



From the January 2000 issue of The Vine & Branches