Saturday, August 2, 2014

A strategy for getting out of a hole

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought your plans or solutions would make matters better but instead made them worse? 

We have all been in situations like this before. Instead of making things better, "we dig ourselves into a hole. 

Meet Ahaz, king of Judah. In a moment of crisis, after losing several key battles, he decides to try something new. The NIV describes his "hole digging" this way: In his time of trouble King Ahaz became even more unfaithful to the LORD
(2 Chronicles 28:22).

What did he do?
In his time of distress and trouble, King Ahaz did not call on the Lord but instead made sacrifices to the gods of Damascus who had defeated him in battle. His reasoning went something like this: "Since the gods of the Syrians helped them to defeat me, I will now offer sacrifices to them and they will help me." (2 Chronicles 28:23-26)

The result Sounds reasonable, right? But it didn't work. Unfortunately, what seemed like a rational strategy on the surface only made matters worse. His decision resulted in his ruin and the ruin of Israel. In fact things got worse and his "solution" took him deeper into a hole. 

How do you get out of a hole?
1. The first order of business is to stop digging. Stop your problem solving. You heard it before, insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. So stop digging.
2. Ask for help. I can think of numerous times in my life when I failed to ask for help from God and from others and my failure to ask for help actually created a bigger hole for me. 
3. Take responsibility. In the Christian community, we would say admit to your failure; confess your sin or failure. But confession alone is not enough.
4. Seek a new path. God is rich in mercy and delights to forgive, heal and restore. After David's colossal sins against Bathsheba, her husband and the Lord, he prayed, 

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go;I will counsel you with my eye upon you. Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding,whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you. Psalm 32: 8-9
When faced with distress and trouble, what do you recommend as paths to renewal and change?