Driving the Stake

Posted: April 2, 2017 in Forged - victory & strength in hard times

hammer and stakeSome time ago, my wife and I accepted positions as House Parents at a large children’s ranch near Phoenix, AZ. Kids are placed here who’s family are unable to care for them for a variety of reasons. As House Parents, we are assigned to a house that can either have up to ten boys or ten girls. The staff here are amazing, as they really go all out to provide these kids incredible opportunities to be successful now and into adulthood, regardless of their difficult circumstances. But can I tell you, as much as these kids are worth the investment, it’s very difficult work. Managing the lives of ten, 5-18 year olds, who are often angry, emotional, don’t want to be here and ‘lost’, is not for the faint of heart. It can surely draining on every level – physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. It has stretched me in ways that I didn’t even know I could be stretched!

We were here but only a few months and I began to hit a ‘wall’. I was losing hit the wallmotivation, drive and the desire to do what I believe God desired of us. Even though I knew God had called us here, I was feeling empty and worn-out; even questioning if I’d made a mistake in telling my wife ‘let’s do this,’ months prior when presented the opportunity.

One Sunday morning during Chapel service, I was listening to a beautiful solo by one of our staff members. I don’t remember the name of the song she sang, but it was about the story of the woman who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. As I sat with my eyes closed, listening and soaking in the music, an image of myself at the feet of Jesus came to mind. I saw myself trying to anoint His feet, however, what immediately seized me was the reality that as I tried to pour out my ‘vial’, nothing came out… it was empty. I had a sudden overwhelming feeling of having nothing to give my Savior – not a good place to be.

I find great value being a daily reader of the Bible and spending time in prayer. One day, as I was praying over and thru my weary feelings, emotions and frustrations, God gave me a ‘word picture’ in my mind.

attached to chain1I saw myself at the foot of the Cross of Christ. I was hammering a stake deep into the ground. Once the stake was in place, I attached one end of a short chain to the stake and myself to the other end.

In the days to follow, as I mulled over that piece of imagery, I realized how easy it is to stray emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually in times of difficulty and stress. In our mind’s attempt to make sense of the uncertainty and to clear the ‘fog’ that seems to be limiting our clarity and vision, we can easily begin to grasp for other things, people, etc. for either answers, the power to ‘numb’ us to the reality of our current circumstances or the ability to just cope. The problem is that most anything else we pursue in times like this will not solve our dilemma or directly answer our questions. In fact, there is a high probability that whatever we would chase may even make our situation worse.

truthMy vision of the ‘stake and the chain’ was as if God was reminding me – there is no other truth. There is no other place of refuge. There is no other source of real life than Me. In this time of difficulty and uncertainty, ‘stake your claim’ in Me and don’t move.

If I believe God is ultimately in control, always has my best interests in mind and will work out all things for His purpose and plans, then truly, at the ‘foot of the Cross’ is where I need to stay. It’s the Cross of Christ that offers us the foundation and the power of life… real life; yesterday, today and forever. We can’t get this anywhere else.

I also know that at times, my ‘stake’ gets loose as well. I don’t know about you, but on a daily basis, life just has a way of pulling me this way and that. My desires, dreams and feelings can be like a bug attracted to light. They can make a ‘bee-line’ for what seems to look good or right, without much serious thought to what dangers may lie ahead. Those seasons of life when I keep pulling on the chain; running around in circles like a dog trying to find a way free, can surely loosen my ‘stake’. But the goodGod is able news is that I’ve also discovered that every time I choose to spend time with Jesus in prayer and reading God’s Word, it’s like taking a hammer and re-securing my ‘stake’ firmly in the ground – even driving it deeper than it was before. I need this… every day.

‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith;…’ Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

  1. Wil Lohman says:

    We were preached this very word from Hebrews yesterday. Loved your exhortation to stake it out. Lol

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