Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Predicament (03/01/12)
TITLE: Escape Routes and Barren Fields
By Lillian Rhoades
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Houdini was a renowned escape artist who learned how to create a predicament and determine its outcome. When he first started out as an escape artist, he chose simple, ordinary tricks that brought him little success. His failed attempt to make a name for himself almost caused him to give up. History tells us he tried to sell his magic and his secrets for twenty dollars, but he received no offers. Success finally came when he decided to go beyond the ordinary tricks others had mastered.
It soon became apparent that Houdini’s success would depend on creating situations that appeared to have no way to escape.
What a lesson for life this affords the Christian! Far from creating inescapable situations, we run from them. As Christians, we have no desire to embrace crises or plan unpleasant predicaments; especially when intolerable situations and unexpected crises never come with an escape manual.
Although difficulties and valleys that lay bare before us provide opportunities for spiritual growth, still we seek fertile fields.
It’s doubtful that Houdini ever claimed to be a Christian, but we can compare his success to the spiritual success we experience when we do not try to escape difficult times.
Rather than trying to escape hard times, we’re admonished to, Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart (Psalm 27:14).
For Houdini, waiting paid off.
What a difficult time in his life after he failed to sell his business. Caught between success and failure, Houdini chose to challenge his failure. Ironically, the act that catapulted him to fame was called The Challenge Act. From then on he became known as the Handcuff King; the one-of-a kind, quintessential escape artist.
He went from a crisis beyond his control to managing crises under his control.
And so it is for every believer. We know that Satan is quite adept at handcuffing us to doubt and throwing away the key. But when we exercise faith that challenges our failures and cultivates what’s barren in our lives, we discover escape routes for the unpredictable. What seems out of control is now under His control.
So what do we do when faced with valleys that bear no fruit? Can we thrive on predicaments from which there’s no apparent escape?
For the Christian the answer is far more than magic, illusion, or psychic medium that Houdini eventually embraced.
For every barren field, God promises to send rain. For every uncontrollable situation, He promises that,
No temptation is irresistible. You can trust God to keep the temptation from becoming so strong that you can’t stand up against it, for He has promised this and will do what He says. He will show you how to escape temptation’s power
(1 Corinthians 10:13b).
We do not need to look for a way of escape when He has already provided one.
When we feel handcuffed to hard times, His word encourages us to,
Endure hardness as a good soldier (2 Tim. 2:3).
Unlike Houdini, our ultimate success is not dependent on whether we escape the predicaments we face, but how well we endure them. Faith will always fertilize infertile fields and provide escape routes when there seems to be no way out.
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