When The Walls Are Closing In

Gwen Smith Blog, Encouragement, Faith, Strength, Trials, Trusting God 20 Comments

There’s a scene in Star Wars Episode IV – A New Hope – where Princess Leia, Hans Solo, Chewbacca, and Luke Skywalker find themselves on the detention level of the Death Star in a trash compactor whose walls are closing in quickly. Their efforts to slow the walls down were ineffective. Leia and Hans tried every way conceivable to brace the walls with something to stop the progression of eminent death. Chewbacca tried to use brute force. Steel poles were snapped like toothpicks as Luke desperately called out to C3PO on his com-link to shut the system down.

Meanwhile, in another area of the Death Star, C3PO thought that Storm Troopers might have captured the crew, but he couldn’t hear Luke’s cries because he had forgotten to turn on his com (the device that Luke was calling him on). He asked R2D2 to look for the missing friends and began to search for and call out to Skywalker.

Just seconds before the four heroes became pancakes, squeaky little R2D2 reminded C3PO to connect with Luke via his com link.

Thank you!

As soon as C3PO turned on his com device, he heard Luke’s cries for help and quickly shut down the trash compactor, saving the four panicked good guys. They all took a deep breath, hugged one another then looked for a way out.

And then the next scene began.

Just like that. Crisis averted. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. All is well.

IF ONLY life were so simple!

I want every blessing of God’s presence and every ounce of power He has for me – but I’m going to be honest with you: there have been times I’ve felt as if I was in that trash compactor with the walls closing in and was fighting tooth and nail to experience that all-is-well peace.

This is a type of battle that can only be fought on my knees.

Today I’m praying for my husband who was downsized from his company recently and is actively searching for employment. I’m also praying for a 48 year-old friend of mine who’s been battling cancer for years.

And there are other loved ones struggling too. So many others.

I pray…and at times feel like curling up in a fetal position.

The walls are pressing hard. The aches are real. The groanings are raw.

Under the weight of it all, I’m thankful for what I know of God. For what I know of His power.

I know that God is in the middle of it all. That He’s right beside me. Right beside them. I know that He is more than able to handle complicated challenges and is faithful to provide the grace needed for each broken moment.

I also know that without His strength I crumble. Without His presence I panic. Without His Spirit I wander and wonder and wane. When David was in duress, he often spoke to himself in the Psalms. I love that…because I do it too sometimes.

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.” (Psalm 62:5)

I turn my heart toward His and talk to myself.

Keep calm, Gwen. God is still on the throne – and you are free to approach Him at any time, with any ache, with any question, with any weakness. Thank you, Jesus.

No matter what you and I face, we never face it alone. I love the way The Message paraphrases the encouraging verses of Ephesians 3:20. “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.”

There is power in prayer, power in His nearness, power in the pouring out of emotions, and power in the picking up of His Word.

God’s Word speaks strength to wilted souls.

“When I said, ‘My foot is slipping,’ your love, O Lord, supported me. When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.” (Psalm 94:18-19)

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” (Psalm 73:26)

Press into the Word when the walls of life press in on you.

Press into prayer – even when it is hard to pray. Even when you want to shout to the heavens, Turn your com on, God! I need you here!

Even when your prayers seem to go unanswered.

Or when you receive a different answer than the one you were hoping for.

There is never a time when God does not hear the cries of His children.

Believe it.

He hears your prayers and can be trusted.

When we press past the pain in prayer, when we press into Jesus, grace flows directly from the Living Water to our parched and thirsty places. Peace sutures bleeding hearts and holds them tenderly until they heal. Agony is attended to by the One who knows the wrenching sting of pain, betrayal, and loss. By the One who understands. The compassionate One who reaches for the trembling hands of a struggler, picks her up, and carries her to a place of rest, wholeness, and healing. By the One who fights for His child when she is too weary and worn to engage in the battle. (Exodus 14:14)

Though walls press in, God is able and available to work within – deeply and gently – with a grace that gives strength and is sufficient for your every need.

Every. Need.

All is well.

 

Dear Lord,
I choose to trust You with the pains and strains that are weighing heavy on my heart today. Thanks for being faithful, loving, and strong.
In Jesus’s Name I pray,
Amen.

 

FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE

READ Habbakuk 3:2, 17-19. “Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy…Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights.” PRAY responsively.

Praying for YOU as you press into HIM today, friend.

Thanks for doing life with me. Love you so much.

GWEN


🌸 HEY! CAN I COME TO WORK WITH YOU?

{Listen to the GRACEOLOGIE with Gwen Smith Podcast during your commute to and from work… or while you run errands, cook dinner, fold laundry, eat chips and guacamole… all the things}

New Episode This Week: JORDAN LEE DOOLEY!


 

Did you ever start a Bible Study and not finish? Yeah, me too. It’s normal and it happens to all of us. But studying the Bible is important to helps us know God more, and to equip us with His power, perspective and peace.

Don’t let the unfinished studies in your desk keep you from going after what you truly know your heart and soul needs. JOIN Girlfriends in God cofounder Gwen Smith for an inductive online Bible study that can be done in the comfort of your home and in a timeframe that fits with your personal schedule. Her next 4-week Psalm Adventure begins on September 8, 2019.

Click here to SIGN UP for the next online Bible study.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Comments 20

  1. Gwen,
    I’m praying for you. I could tell by your Instagram post that something was weighing on your heart. Faith and prayer will get you through this new unfamiliar path.
    My husband lost his job at 60 years old in. May of 2018, also due to downsizing. By the grace of God he was given a great severance package 6 months of pay as a regular paycheck right into our direct deposit, this was comforting. He also received another 6 months of pay in a lump sum into his pension. He was relentless looking for work and took a few positions under contract for less money, no benefits of course. I was still working and looking forward to retirement, (I’m 3 years older and I have Rheumatoid arthritis plus 3 major surgeries in the past 4 years due to my disease) so needless to say we were both feeling like we were living in a pressure cooker! BUT GOD IS SO GOOD! HE PREPARED ME! A few months prior to David losing his job I was driving to work on an early sunny spring morning and GOD SPOKE TO ME, not in words, it’s just that He let me know change was coming, something was going to happen and it would be good! I was so happy and of course shared it with my husband. GOD KEPT RE-ENFORCING this message of change coming for us. So when David got the news and was struggling to tell me (I tend to react without thinking) God had prepared me, so I was able to comfort him instead of “going off in a tantrum”. I did struggle with it, don’t get me wrong but it was a BLESSING BECAUSE I HAD TO KEEP PRAYING AND TRUSTING GOD THAT IT WOULD ALL WORK OUT! ( I tend to need to have everything under control), my sweet David always knows GOD IS IN CONTROL. ….I have to keep being reminded ….
    So, the last contracting job he had was for 6 months contract to higher. after 8 months his manager called him into the office to tell him, “I don’t know when we can hire you on for a permanent position but I have a friend at another law firm looking for an IT guy and I think it would be a great fit for you”. He was hired on as in a permanent position, medical benefits, the whole nine yards May of this year for the same Money he was making before he lost his job! GOD IS GOOD AND MY FAITH IS STRONGER THAN BEFORE! I even retired 7 months early! David used the 6 months lump sum to make this happen!
    I know you are struggling, I know you know GOD IS IN CONTROL and He is right there with you but I thought you needed to hear my story.
    You see, without you and the other GIG I wouldn’t have read all those daily devotionals and done all the Bible Studies with you and Sharon online and in the books. You girls bringing God’s message to me has blessed me more than I could ever express. So, hang on, you may be on a roller coaster but God is right there with you.

    Thank you, it is an honor to do life with you girlfriend!
    God Bless You,
    Lynne

  2. Being let go from a job is tough on many levels. It hurts , it’s embarrassing, it stays with you for a long time. I’ve experienced it a few times and it does scar. It’s devastating and changes your whole life. Looking back on how each time changed my life many times I was slowed down. Maybe God wanted me to slow down. I am sorry your husband was let go. I hope something better will come his way.

  3. This blog really resonate with me. It spoke to my heart. I remember telling a dear friend just the other that I feel the walls are closing in and I just want to curl up and sleep for long time. I feel so overwhelmed in my life. I have been praying for God to deliver me. I’m struggling with my mom’s illness, my marriage and job and just about every area. But, I know there is power in prayer and that I am not alone because weeping endure for a night but joy cometh in the morning. Thank you again allowing God to use to you to speak to out heart and situation.

  4. You have touched my heart. It is as if ;you know what I am feeling, thinking, and going through. I lost my husband of 45 years 2 1/2 years ago. I am 64 know and we have been together since I was 16. We grew up together. I am in a depression that I am trying to crawl out of. I am having a hard time finding myself and knowing what to do. I have prayed constantly to God, asking him to help me find my way and what I should do. I believe I may be blind and deaf to his answers. I am praying that your bubble study will help me to open my eyes and see.

  5. “And Moses said to the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the LORD, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall see again no more forever.
    The LORD will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace.””
    ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭14:13-14‬ (‭NKJV‬‬)
    http://bible.com/114/exo.14.13-14.nkjv

    Dear LORD Almighy,

    Thank You for Your goodness to us and Your unyielding grace! Please, help us make You our First-Thing desire and to forever place You in the center of our life! Please, do not allow us to take for granted the fact that we are not only permitted to go to Your throne of grace (Heb 4) but You long for us to come to Your Throne!
    May our prayers be magnifying and an act of pure adoration and worship!

  6. I just read your devotional this morning on Bible Gateway. Yesterday, my employer laid off ten employees including me. My young adult daughter moved back home a year ago struggling with a severe, chronic illness. In the last seven months, three family cars have been totaled. You get the picture, we’re in a season of feeling like we’re in that trash compactor.
    Reading that your husband lost his job was a clear reminder that God knows exactly what happened to me yesterday. He hasn’t forgotten me or my family. Your analogy brought this verse to mind:
    “We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.” – 2 Cor. 4:8-19
    Praying for your husband to find employment soon and blessings for you and your family.

    1. Post
      Author

      Thanks Sandra! Yes! He surely sees and knows every last detail. And I’m thrilled to report that after two months, Brad has been offered a job. We are deeply grateful.

      Keep standing strong, sister!
      Gwen

  7. What a great message, thank you Gwen! I know I have cried out to the Lord on many different occasions! He is ALWAYS there. When I doubt, or get discouraged He pours grace and mercy on me every time! He will never leave us or forsake us EVER! Sometimes being in the “hallway” is the hardest place. Where total surrender is necessary. “Is my grace sufficient?” Yes Lord, please forgive me for doubting You! I’m teaching through a study, “Becoming a Woman Whose God is Enough” by Cynthia Heald, in there it says, “What more can God do to convince us that He is for us? For Christ died FOR us and was raised to life FOR us, and He is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading FOR us” (Romans 8:34). Being confident in God’s plan AND His love is essential in moving through any trials I experience! If I am not confident I am going to really struggle. Then the writer continues and writes, “If the Cross and Resurrection are not enough to prove that God is for me, perhaps I ask too much.” WOW when we read this and we all answered the question it left us all in tears. I think sometimes I doubt because I don’t understand His true love for me❤️I need to continue to spend time with Him getting to know Him better and I need to write scripture down on index cards so when the enemy tries to trip me up, as he will try, I am prepared! I think of a person in the military; a solider, a worrier! He goes into battle with his armor and his battle plan with one thing in mind … to fight and kill! And this is after being in boot camp, training and getting prepared for the battle. Am I prepared for “the battle”? Am I spending time in the word? Am I praising Him for all that He is? Am I repenting daily? Am I praying? Am I yielding? Oh is that the hard step. Yielding and waiting upon Him! He is the General, right? A soldier doesn’t move without orders. These are the things I need to be reminded of. Lord help me to know You better and bring to the forefront of my mind daily Your love for me.. In the precious name of Jesus!

  8. Thank you for this message and for sharing what you and your friends and family are going through also. It can be easy to think that you live a perfect life where nothing difficult happens. But in your transparency you remind us what faith and trust in Christ looks like in the face of tribulations and of God’s faithfulness to us.

  9. Thank you so much for sharing this today! I really needed to hear this today. When people are trying to bring you down, God us helping us and lifting us up!

  10. Oh my Gwen : This made me cry ,you have such a way with words
    I lost my husband of 42 years through scuicide (( hanging )) In sept of 2017 ,my heart is breaking ,sometimes it seems like all 4 walls are closing in around me ,,the devil tells me that I am forever destroyed ,at times I feel like I’m not gonna make it ,,please pray for God to restore
    Everything’s the devil has stolen ,me with a double portion of everything excluding love ,,thank you

  11. February 6, 2018
    Thank you for watering my soul today. I pray for you and I know that God will provide just what you and your family need at this time. He knows your heart and your hurt. Remain on the assignment he has given you and he will bless you. Be faithful and I pray for strengthening along the way.

  12. THIS MESSAGE WAS SO SO GOOD. SO ON POINT. I WAS DESPERATE FOR A ‘BREATH OF FRESH AIR’. WHAT BEGAN AS A REALLY TOUGH DAY HAS BEEN MADE SO MUCH BETTER WHEN READING THIS. THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR HEART WITH US. WILL PRAY FOR YOUR CONCERNS AND FOR YOU. BLESS YOU. THANK YOU GOD. XOXO

    FROM TERRY WITH LOVE

  13. THIS. So good. I’ve been there, sweet friend. I’ve had to claim, believe and stand on those very truths. Thank you for sharing. I’m praying it ministers to women who feel those walls pressing in. Jesus is ENOUGH! God is SOVEREIGN. The Spirit is WITH US.

    Love you,

    Wendy

  14. Thank you for the discounted e-book! My word for 2018 is “thrive” and this will be a great study to help remind me thru the Spring!!

  15. What an “on-time” God we serve??? This message was meant for me, today at this very moment. Shouting praises to the Most High God.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *