The Secret to Holding On When Life Leaves You Dangling Stuck

The Secret to Holding On When Life Leaves You Dangling Stuck

September 11, 2017

“My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.” Psalm 63:8 (NASB)

Devotion Graphic

I remember standing at the bottom of a cliff jutting over the sea and wondering how I’d ever make it to the top.

I was attending a small college where I’d signed up for a class called Outdoor Pursuits. This adventuresome course required students to complete weekly excursions such as kayaking and spelunking, hiking and rock climbing.

On this particular day, my assignment was to climb to the top of a stony crag where my instructor waited. Most of my friends had already conquered the challenge, so when it was my turn, I reached confidently for a long crevice in the rock and heaved my slight frame onto a narrow foothold.

Once I’d steadied myself, I surveyed the rock face for another jug to grab and convinced my feet to follow. Slowly, I scaled the cliff … until I reached an impasse. I scanned the area for a ledge to grab, but every possibility was beyond my reach. Suddenly, I was stuck somewhere between the jagged summit of an ancient rock and the white-capped waves of the Irish Sea below.

My arms began to shake, and my legs trembled. I considered giving up. But instead, I decided to cling to that cliff with a shred of stubborn hope.

It’s been decades since I found myself stuck above that swirling sea. But over the years, I’ve learned rock climbing isn’t the only thing that can leave us dangling in dismay. Life in this broken world can do that, too.

And when we find ourselves stuck, we can either crumble or cling.

In Psalm 63:8, the famous King David writes: “My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.”

It sounds poetic and brave, doesn’t it? But when David penned these words, he wasn’t sailing on a sea of blessing.

He was hiding in the wilderness of Judah, on the run from a man (King Saul) who wanted him dead. In layman’s terms, David was stuck.

But when David’s circumstances threatened to bring him down, he invited his Savior to hold him up.

Instead of giving up, he looked up.

Instead of panicking, he prayed.

And we are free to do the same.

David’s example in Psalm 63 reminds us prayer isn’t just a prescription for smooth sailing. Prayer is a
decision to seek shelter from the storm.

Prayer isn’t merely clamoring for our way; it’s choosing to cling to the One who knows the way.

On that long-ago day when I found myself stuck on a stony crag, I did more than cling with my hands; I clung with my heart, too.

Rather than focus on the waves that churned the sea, I talked to the One who could calm the clamor in me.

My instructor eventually pointed out a foothold I couldn’t see, and I followed his directions safely to the summit.

Scripture tells us David was eventually released from his stuck place, too. And through him, the Lord established a kingdom that would never end.

It’s a story with a happy ending, but if we focus only on David’s summit, we miss the miracle in the middle. You see, even before God changed David’s circumstances, prayer changed his outlook. Read Psalm 63, and see for yourself.

Though David didn’t understand what God was doing, he declared in prayer Who he knew God to be. As he clung to the Rock of his salvation (2 Samuel 22:47), David’s angst turned to adoration; his panic gave way to peace.

From his desperate cries in verse one of Psalm 63 to his joyful praise in the verses that follow, it’s clear this rising king experienced a change of heart.

This is the great miracle of prayer.

Prayer might not instantly set us free from our problems, but it sets us free to enjoy the Lord’s presence wherever we are.

When we choose to cling in faith instead of crumbling in fear, we discover we’re not dangling alone. Even in our stuck places, God is there, holding us in His unrelenting grip of grace.

Dear God, my faith may falter, but Your faithfulness won’t. My strength may wane, but Your love won’t. Teach my soul to cling to You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Isaiah 26:3-4, “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you! Trust in the LORD always, for the LORD GOD is the eternal Rock.” (NLT)

When you don’t have much time during the day to pause and talk to God, you want to make those few minutes you do have count. A Pocketbook of Prayers is a brand-new product from Proverbs 31 Ministries, written to help guide you or a friend through six different types of prayer using the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:9-13. Get your copy today with a donation of your choice!

For more encouragement, join Alicia Bruxvoort at her blog today.

Which “stuck place” do you need to surrender to the Lord? Spend some time in the Psalms and ask God to show you more clearly Who He is. (You can start with Psalm chapter 42, 62, 63 or 103.) Write your own clinging prayer of faith.

© 2017 by Alicia Bruxvoort. All rights reserved.

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  1. Thank you for such a lovely post. I am excatly in the ‘dangling stuck’ position right now.I have no idea where or how to look (be it my work or my personal life) and I am panicking not knowing what to do. My family thinks I am really strong but only Jesus and I know how i am pretending to look strong everyday. I also read in another post were the Psalm 23 was written by David at the time when he was actually not ‘lying down in green pastures’ but his faith in the Lord was extraordinary and he looked up to HIM to show him the way during rocky times. I wish to have the same faith but it’s difficult, actually very difficult! Hope the Lord sees me and hears my prayer.

    • Praying for your this morning, Joan… “that you may have great endurance and patience” according to Colossians 1:11. God hears the prayers of His children.

    • I’m feeling the same way right now. My marriage is that cliff that I just can’t seem to grab. We have been married 16 years but it feels like it’s coming to a close and I don’t know what to do. I’m at a crossroads, do I climb higher or do I just drop to the ground in defeat. Please pray for me and I will pray for u!

  2. Alicia, thanks for sharing!

  3. Thank you for sharing. I needed this, as I feel like I am dangling from a cliff. My cliff is chronic serious health issues, & the financial burden that accompanies them, all while caring for an elderly parent. We desperately need a car. Praying for our miracle, as I cling to MY cliff, & try not to focus on the dark, raging waters below.

    • I am so sorry that you are going through such a difficult time. I pray for you, that God would meet all your needs and that he would bring healing to your body. Don’t let go and don’t give up hope! He’s got this!

    • Samantha Smith says:

      JR I am praying God heals your heath problems and proved to you he can handle all financial problem to as well as get you a car
      He will give you strength in caring for the elderly parent as well. I know God has helped me and he can and Wil help you too. Just have the faith of a mustard seed and see what happens.i am praying for you. GOD BLESS YOU FREIND..

    • Praying for you 🙁 perhaps hyperbaric oxygen chamber may help…it can be very good for chronic health issues

  4. So needed this…thank you!

  5. Yes, Alicia, “It’s a story with a happy ending.” And all too often, we’re asking God for our happy now-moment. Sisters, God’s goal is our happy ending, not our present ease. “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns” (Philippians 1:6).

  6. I so needed this too. It goes along with the other reminders I’ve learned from this site: * turn your fear into faith, * turn your worry into worship, and now * turn your panic into prayer. I whisper these in my mind several times throughout the day. They are my little prayers to God that help me internally, when I have to put on the fake smile & upbeat attitude to make it thru the day.

    • Thanks so much for those phrases!
      Putting them in my journal right now for daily reminders to keep focusing and turning to God when I get anxious.

    • Thanks for this post! These phrases encouraged me so much this morning!

    • Love the phrases RM!
      I too have written them down for encouragement as we navigate future living arrangements for our child with disabilities.

  7. I thank you so much for this devotional it was much help in where i am on this spiritual journey and with the help of my heavenly father i have gotten myself out of a dangling situation and i am now i am free to be fruitful and start to do what thus say of my God. Please keep me in your prayers and thanks again for these words of encouragement.

  8. Even I cannot believe this rollercoaster 🎢 ride of serious health issues cropping up, one after another …since February!
    im still dangling! I’m still trying to be upbeat. Every morning as I rise and shine I pray…..”dear lord, my entire day is in your hands”. It calms me down and keeps me sane. Thankyou for this post…this reminder.

  9. Thank you, He is always on time. I needed this right now. I have been worried about our upcoming move.

    I have requested from the Lord that our new landlord accepts a lower rent payment from what he is asking. I would like to agree to stay there for an extended amount of years.

    I covet your prayers for this situation. In Jesus’s name.

  10. Knowing that God is always with me and I can cling to Him no matter what has taken me through some difficult seasons. His hand that I cling to is the hand that is always holding me.

  11. Bonnie Clabaugh says:

    Thank you for the reminder of jow truly scary life can be at times. I am 67 years old & most of my big decisions are behind me — & God has brought me safely through them all.
    But I have loved ones Going Thru tough times & Big Life decisions. I need to be sensitive to how precarious it Feels in their heart & mind.
    THEN reassure them — GOD IS FAITHFUL.

  12. I am also stuck. Between a verbally and emotionally abusive marriage with kids and also no family or friend support. I live in fear often not knowing what mood he’s in each day and I am beaten down. Whatever I do is wrong. I have prayed, been to counseling. Not sure what direction to take. I am stuck.

    • Amy, Have you looked at Leslie Vernick’s website where she blogs, teaches, and speaks about emotionally destructive marriages. Also, biblical/Christian counselor Patrick Doyle has over 120 FREE videos on youtube for people (mostly women) in destructive marriages. Most abusive men have personality/character disorders and/or secret addictions. Leslie and.or Patrick will help you set boundaries and, if you plan to stay with our husband, how to stay well while caring for your needs and your children’s needs.They also can help those who need to leave an abusive marriage. Another helpful tool can be found at the Mosaic Method website. This is a FREE threat assessment website. Verbal abuse is domestic violence and it will take a toll on your health. Keep in mind that almost all domestic violence escalates with time. If you are going to stay; stay well. I’m praying for you for I have also been in your shoes. I blog about my experiences and what God has taught me through it, but I’m not a professional. Leslie and Patrick can help you. Blessings!

      • Thank you so much for your help! I will definitely look at those resources you mentioned. I feel alone most days as no one really knows what’s happening. I have learned so much about this type of behavior in people but probably not so much about how to counteract and protect myself.

  13. Amy, I am praying for you that God will protect you and your kids and that he will direct your steps in any hard decisions you are facing!

    • Thank you! Your prayer is very much appreciated! It’s so difficult to talk to people that know you so I appreciate so much that you will pray for me. And I will also pray for you! God bless you!

  14. You are such a blessing to me, Alicia…thanks again for your encouragement through using not only your experiences but also through using God’s Word!

  15. Monica Rahardjo says:

    I have been praying for my son’s eyes due to a glaucoma since last december.. I believe that I cling on a solid rock called Jesus…and He will heal my son…

  16. Thank you for this. Reading this am as we made it thru hurricane Irma. God is god.

  17. Thank you Alicia for reminding us that leaning on the Lord in all circumstances is ALL WE NEED.
    How peaceful it is in all circumstances, both bad and good, to feel His strength holding on to us.
    Thank you for the scripture which is there to guide and instruct us always, and especially to give us
    loving peace and joy!

  18. I have been praying for new beginnings in home job finances ..So I believe that God will make a way in due time.

  19. Janice Alston says:

    Such inspiring words. I have had lot’s of unpleasant health diagnoses but, have to put all of them in God’s hands, and continue to cling to God’s words. Love this message for it give me the strength to continue to relied on God. Today, I am clinching to God. Thank you for this uplifting message.

  20. Cindy Hartman says:

    This message was exactly what I needed today. By all appearances, I may be homeless in a few days. My living situation has been very problematic. I took some action without having a complete solution in hand. I know my actions were directed by God. He does see all and I choose to rest in that truth. Even if homelessness is part of my future, God will bring me to a better place. He is loving, faithful, and trustworthy. Praise be to my Father God.

  21. So hard to stay trusting and praying when your husband has filed for divorce and is pretty much mean and lies all of the time and am facing having to decide whether to fight for my marriage. Of course he doesn’t want me to stay in the house with the children so it will be heartbreaking to possibly make them move. So many days I try not to second guess being a stay at home mom but that’s just one more thing I have to figure out along with everything else. My day seems to be constant prayer just to get through. I’m ready for so much less chaos in my life.

    • Nicole, fight for your marriage in prayer, stand in your faith in God knowing He is in control always. That way you know you have done all God has called you to do to save your marriage. Don’t look at the natural, the negative whirlwinds about you, but try to focus on Him and rest in peace knowing that He sees the big picture and already knows what is best for you. Nothing is impossible with God; you will see Him bring great things from your storm. Blessings to you ~

      2 Chron 20:15
      And he said, “Listen, all you of Judah and you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you, King Jehoshaphat! Thus says the Lord to you: ‘Do not be afraid nor dismayed because of this great multitude, for the battle is not yours, but God’s.

  22. Libby Hueschen says:

    Thank you for that wonderful description of how we can turn fear into faith by clinging to Him!

  23. I have to say this to you. I are real brave. I do not like to climb on rocks, I do not know how to swim. I took swimming lesson. I will take the lessons again. Water makes you feel at peace. Prayer changes things. When you feel at lost call on the Lord in prayer. The Lord loves will never fail. AMEN

  24. Thank you, Alicia, for a great reminder for when we all get stuck in the middle.

  25. Thank you for this. Great verses and just what I needed today!
    Bless you!

  26. Diana Jeffery says:

    Thank you… turning to the Word of God again is the surrender of a soul in torment or the strengthening of weak knees. He encourages us to keep looking to the God of our salvation. Faith traps its reward in every season of life!

  27. It’s funny how amazing God is. I’ve been struggling in school and haven’t been able to understand my circumstances. I know I’m where He wants me but don’t understand why I am struggling in my math class. I’ve been asking God why and what’s going on. It’s funny how he speaks to us, it’s all starting to make since.

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