Oh, that I had wings like a dove; then I would fly away and rest! I would fly far away to the quiet of the wilderness. How quickly I would escape—far from this wild storm of hatred. … But I will call on God, and the Lord will rescue me. [Psalm 55:6-8,16 (NLT)]

skink (southeastern five-lined)The skink, a reptile that looks as if it can’t decide between being a lizard or a snake, scampered down the boardwalk. This little guy looked more lizard-like than usual because he was missing his long blue tail. Like many lizards, the skink’s tail easily detaches when grasped by a predator. Although a raccoon or snake had appropriated its tail, the skink had escaped to see another day. He doesn’t have much with which he can defend himself so the detachable tail is probably God’s way of providing him a way to escape.

Like the skink, we all want to be able to escape when misfortune or disaster occur. The Fire Department tells us to have an escape route from our home in case of fire, the Department of Transportation clearly designates the evacuation routes in case of a hurricane, and hotels and public buildings mark exits and stairwells so we can flee in case of emergency.

It’s not just storms and burning buildings from which people want to escape. We want to escape from things like chronic pain, stage-4 cancer, paralysis, Parkinson’s, or MS; caregiving for a spouse disabled by stroke, an elderly parent with dementia or a child with cerebral palsy; a loved one’s addiction, overwhelming debt, a troubled marriage, or the consequences of our failings. There are, however, no specially marked exits for these situations. Although some people try to flee them through abandonment, denial, or emotional detachment, their troubles will eventually catch up with them. Unlike the skink, we can’t turn tail (or leave our tail behind) and run. Instead of escaping like a skink, we have to turn around and face our troubles head on.

While God doesn’t promise to fix our problems, He does promise we’ll not face them alone. Unlike the skink whose only defense is a detachable tail, God has provided us with His armor, the power of prayer, the Holy Spirit, and our brothers and sisters in Christ.

Heavenly Father, when we want to flee, please give us the strength and courage to meet our challenges face to face. We know we can’t do it alone but, with you, all things are possible.

Battles are fought in our minds every day. When we begin to feel the battle is just too difficult and want to give up, we must choose to resist negative thoughts and be determined to rise above our problems. We must decide that we’re not going to quit. When we’re bombarded with doubts and fears, we must take a stand and say: ‘I’ll never give up! God’s on my side. He loves me, and He’s helping me! I’m going to make it!’ [Joyce Meyer]

Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. [Ephesians 6:13-17 (NLT)]

Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand. [Isaiah 41:10 (NLT)]

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