I was thinking about elevators the other day just before going with Cathy to watch the Minnesota Wild play the Ottawa Senators. I’m not sure why.
I was pondering how some people really struggle with a fear of elevators.
For some it is “claustrophobia”, which is the fear of enclosed spaces. Because an elevator is a small and confined box, it is easy to see how it could cause a claustrophobic reaction.
For others it is “agoraphobia”, which is the fear of being trapped in a situation in which escape would be difficult or impossible should a panic attack occur.
For others it is the fear of being stuck between floors in an elevator; which has no name.
Trapped, stuck with (seemingly) no way of ever getting out….
As my mind pondered this, I found myself taking stairs at the Excel Energy Center instead of taking the elevators. Cathy probably thought that I was just being healthy by using the stairs.
And yet, did you know that elevators are safer than cars? They really are.
And still many people struggle with this fear.
As I pondered this, I realized how this was an allegory for how people can actually get stuck in real life between a problem and a solution.
Specifically, I was pondering how many people, when struggling with area of sin in their life, will head to Romans chapter seven in the Bible.
In this section of scripture, the Apostle Paul deals with the very real struggle of sinning and not sinning. Paul wrote:
“For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.” (7:15) “For the good that I will to do, I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice.” (7:19)
Then Paul ends in this great theological question:
“O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?” (7:24)
That is where many people stop reading, concluding that they are prone to sin and are not able to get unstuck. It is as though fear has gripped their hearts and minds and they see no way out of their struggle.
And this is where way too many people live; stuck between chapter seven and chapter eight.
But Paul has more to say; in fact, he answers his own question in the very next verse:
“I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (7:25)
But that is only part way where we need to go. Metaphorically, it is like we are “stuck in an elevator between the seventh and eighth floor”.
Chapter eight is filled with great promises of HOPE that our battle with sin isn’t supposed to be fought on our own. WE have a team which is ready and able to help us.
We read in chapter eight that there is no condemnation when we “do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” (8:1)
We read that “what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin: He condemned sin in the flesh.” (8:3)
We read that he has put the Spirit of His Son in us by which we cry out “Daddy!” to Him (8:15)
We read that we don’t do it alone; “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” (8:26-27)
We read that “all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” (8:28)
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 8:31-35)
Paul goes on to hammer the point home and get us unstuck between chapter seven and eight by writing:
“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (8:37-38)
In fact, you should probably read seven and eight in one sitting; I’ve only hit a few of the verses.
So, the next time you are struggling and make your way to Romans chapter seven, don’t stop and get stuck, keep reading on to chapter eight.
This way you don’t have to try to live life “stuck in an elevator between the seventh and eighth floor”.
All Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.