As a young teenager, I was at home with my mom one afternoon, merrily going about my normal after-school routines – changing my clothes and hanging my coat up, when something happened that terrified me so much that I remember it as though it was yesterday. I had popped a round sour ball candy into my mouth and was sucking on this candy while I picked up my coat and went to hang it on the hook on the back of my bedroom door. I tipped my head back to reach up to the hook, and at that moment the sour ball slid down my throat and got lodged in my wind pipe.
I could not breathe.
In a moment, I ran into the kitchen where my mom was preparing supper. Motioning to her, I tried to tell her I needed help. This was the day before the Heimlech maneuver, so she did all she knew to do – she pounded on my back. It didn’t help. In my mind I was sure that ambulances would have to come and get me – that this was it for me. Then she told me to do something, she gave me counsel – she told me to put my hand down my throat and try to get it out.
I was desperate. I did it.
The Sour ball literally went flying across the room.
Air. Sweet air.
I could breathe again.
Ever since that day I have eaten
sour ball candy.
Though I haven’t partaken of the sour
Death Balls, there have been times when I have experienced the same choking – the feeling that “I cannot breathe!” It can come at times of trials. It hits suddenly, and even if you know that, “if you’re not in a trial now, one is coming,” it can feel suffocating.
Recently, I was in this very place during a trial and I was gasping for air – spiritual air. In my fleshly heart I thought, “The ambulance is coming. I’m not going to pull through this!” But then the Lord stepped up beside me and gave me counsel – He brought His Word to my mind –
“If you faint in the day of adversity, your strength is small.” Proverbs 24:10
“But Lord, I want to trust you! I don’t want to show small strength! I want to be strong in You!”
That was when I “stuck my hand down my throat” and got rid of the troublesome thoughts. Of course there is not way to change a situation – a sickness, a sin, a trial – but we can change the way we respond to it. Please understand that the difficult situation isn’t the Sour Ball – our response is. If we respond in our flesh, we will choke. Our flesh wants to get angry, lash out, blame God or someone else, give up, run away and a hundred other selfish actions. But if we grab a hold of our response and think biblically instead, we will find God’s grace to start breathing again.
Air. Sweet, spiritual air.
Keep breathing. We will make it. We will go on – whether it feels like it right now or not. We’re gonna make it. In the long run, (eternity) everything will be okay.
With a heart for those of you in a trial,