Sometimes life just doesn't make sense. And it's during those moments of uncertainty that I wonder if God knows what he's doing. As I've discovered and maybe you have too, life as a believer in Jesus Christ does not grant us a divine prescription for a trouble free existence. In fact I sometimes find myself getting angry at God for not providing me and my family with the gold plan protection package. But there is a verse in the bible where Jesus tells us, "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (John 16:33 NIV) Yes life can be full of trouble, and yes, I'm grateful that despite its difficulties, I don't have to traverse the narrow mountain roads alone.

When we're blindsided by stressful situations, it's sometimes easy to feel trapped and without hope for the future. We may question God's plan and wonder if He is hands off to the trials we face. Let's face it, challenges occur in each of our lives and some of them are far from a bowl of cherries jubilee.

Have you ever had days where you glance over your shoulder waiting for the next shoe to drop? (And with the size of my wife's shoe collection, there are plenty to drop!) Just when the dust settles from one debacle, another seems to bubble forth to knock you flat on your face once again. It's at those uncertain times when we're left to wonder if the grass will ever be free of weeds.

The word 'trapped' can mean different things to different people. For some, it may be unresolved health issues or daily chronic pain. Like me, you may have found yourself suddenly unemployed by no fault of your own. Or perhaps creditors are knocking on your door demanding payments you can't afford.

Whatever it is you're facing, the common denominator in feeling trapped is the panicky notion that there is no way out. You're stuck in a titanium cage and its tamper-proof locks are preventing you from feeling that you'll ever break free. Have you ever felt that way? I can assuredly tell you that I have and far too many times for my liking! But it's during those moments of despair that God reminds me I'm securely in the palms of His hands even when it may seem otherwise.

Despite the storms of life, I've discovered one thing. God provides a plethora of coping mechanisms and a generous set of keys to help facilitate my escape. These tidbits of hope may come through a friend's council or prayer, or as I discovered just yesterday while walking with my wife, a chance meeting of people on the street who just happened to be Christians. Their timely wisdom and words of encouragement spoke to our hearts and reminded us that God is quietly working everything for good. God says, "I am making everything new!" (Revelation 21:5 NIV) Amen to that!

I recently received an email from my sister and she said this, "Don't ever forget that God understands each and every feeling and emotion you have and He is walking beside you on this journey." That's what I like to call a 'God-wink.' It's a tidbit of heavenly solace when it's needed the most. You won't see them coming, but I guarantee that when you're in God's hands, He has unique ways of making you know it and that His love for you is wide and far reaching.

Most importantly though, the key to escaping the cage you may find yourself in comes from God's word. Its power can shatter the nastiest of locks and help set you back on the road to peace and recovery. One of my all-time favorites is this, "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" (Jeremiah 29:11 NIV) This verse has sustained me through plenty of life's challenges when I felt ensnared and gripped with fear.

I'd like to assure you that God sees the whole picture of your life, that when all you see are obstacles across your path and a cage up ahead with your name on it, our Lord is acutely aware of your circumstances. King David said, "Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life." (Psalm 138:7 NIV).

Feeling trapped in your circumstances can be difficult, especially when the road in front of your tires is riddled with potholes and roadblocks. But we can derive comfort from knowing that God is the potter and we are the clay. That with all the scenes of life playing out in what may feel like random chaos, we can say this with confidence, "As for me, I am in your hands; do with me whatever you think is good and right." (Jeremiah 26:14 NIV)

The future can appear ominous at times, but with God covering our bases, I have every hope in the world that we can move from feelings of entrapment to the joys of unbridled freedom. God loves you so much and wants only for you to grab hold the keys He gives you and wait patiently for each lock to trip.

The detainment is worth it in the end.

Paul Smyth