A man should stop ever’ now and again and ask himself what he was doing, where he was going, and how he planned to get there. And the hardest thing to learn is that there aren’t any shortcuts.”
–Louis L’Amour (Tucker)
“You can enter God’s Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few ever find it.”
–Matthew 7:13-14 (NLT)
We have on our property some of that black gumbo (not the eating kind). Don’t try to walk in it when it is wet, for that muck will suck the shoes right off your feet. It’s not like quicksand, but it will hold you secure in its grip. Perhaps you’ve seen cows stuck in a bog not able to move. Those animals will die because they can’t get out unless someone comes along with a rope and drags them to dryer ground. So were we once, in our spiritual state–bogged down in sin.
“My heart was distressed ‘neath Jehovah’s dread frown,
And low in the pit where my sins dragged me down;
I cried to the Lord from the deep, miry clay,
Who tenderly bro’t me out to golden day.”
–H. J. Zelley
When we walk through the world we can get bogged down, just like one of those cows. We need a strong rope with a stronger person on the other end pulling to get us out. Once we are out we walk through the forests and glens with Him by our side. Our feet are established on solid ground as we follow Him.
“He placed me upon the strong Rock by His side,
My steps were established and here I’ll abide;
No danger of falling while here I remain,
But stand by His grace until the crown I gain.”
Safe on solid ground, makes the heart surely want to sing. We look back at that muck and our hearts sing a praise to the One who pulled us free. Once trying to walk in the mire, each step we were being sucked down deeper and deeper, but now there is a lightness to our step.
“He gave me a song, ’twas a new song of praise,
By day and by night its sweet notes I will raise;
My heart’s overflowing, I’m happy and free,
I’ll praise my Redeemer, who has rescued me.
I’ll sing of His wonderful mercy to me,
I’ll praise Him till all men His goodness shall see;
I’ll sing of salvation at home and abroad,
Till many shall hear the truth and trust in God.”
We can wipe our brow and smile now that the ordeal is over and we have been pulled. There was no hope, just as Christian knew when he was floundering in the slough of despair. But now, now there is hope for He has reached down to save us.
“I’ll tell of the pit, with its gloom and despair,
I’ll praise the dear Father, who answered my prayer;
I’ll sing my new song, the glad story of love,
Then join in the chorus with the saints above.
He bro’t me out of the miry clay,
He set my feet on the Rock to stay;
He puts a song in my soul today,
A song of praise, hallelujah.”
I might note that the verses were written by H.J. Zelley and the chorus by H.L. Gilmour who also composed the music for this uplifting song that definitely brings us up and out of that mire in which we once were stuck.