Upside Down

How would I get out of this awkward position?

Caron Oswald is retired from conference work and lives in Tennessee. She has one son and two grandchildren. She loves to write experiences of God’s power and
answered prayers in the lives of His believers.


MY BROTHER, CAREY, raced to the airport. I’d had a pleasant visit with him in Texas and now had to catch my flight back home to California. But as I looked at the time, I realized that missing my plane was a real possibility.

We arrived with little time to spare. Determined to fight to the end, I made the final assault with prayer. I silently prayed that security wasn’t crowded. Or that the plane was delayed. Or that rebooking
would go smoothly. I wanted to touch all the bases. I had two options for getting upstairs to the ticket area: the elevator and the escalator. I chose the moving stairs. With my suitcase on the step behind me, my one hand firmly holding the handle and the other on the railing, I started up.

All went well for about five seconds. The heavy piece of luggage stood firm, but I didn’t. I fell backward onto the overstuffed suitcase. It fell backward too. I was grateful for a soft landing. However, I imagined a loud announcement: “Pileup at American Airlines ticket area.”

Slowly, I continued the journey to the top. Riding feet first, I assessed the situation. Actually, I was quite comfortable. But I knew I would not be able to get up from where I had fallen on my suitcase.
Have you ever been in a situation in which you knew there was no way to recover? If you’re in a public place, it’s even worse.

When I reached the top of the escalator, the moving stairs kept moving, but I didn’t. As I lay there on my back, my suitcase attempted to make a landing but kept hitting my head as each stair flattened to pass through the machine. To add to the chaos, one of the escalator’s metal stairs grabbed my coat sleeve and attempted to devour my arm. Soon my arm was cut and bleeding.

It seemed like forever before assistance arrived. A man leaned down and asked, “Do you need help?” That was the understatement of the century! A lone tear rolled down my cheek. I didn’t have
the energy to be hysterical. As shock invaded my brain, I was pulled onto the carpet past the moving stairs.

Two airline employees rushed over with a wheelchair and asked for the contact information of my next of kin. My hair dripped with sweat, and I wanted to throw up. A trash can was pushed under my chin and a cold compress—a bottle of cold water wrapped in paper—was placed on my forehead. Someone worked to bandage the cut on my arm.

Carey always stays near the airport until the plane takes off, so he was close by. When he got the call about my mishap, he came back to the airport. When I saw him, two things happened: I started
to cry, and he discovered that I was at the wrong airline.

That day I found myself upside down. But some days I am also upside down in my relationship with Jesus and others in my life. And when a problem or situation or person is consuming my mind, categories of emotions control my thoughts, and my attitudes seep out of my mouth. Here are some examples: 

When I am angry: Nagging problems that seem to have no solutions make me feel that all is hopeless. I think, It’s not fair. 

When I am tired: I resent my responsibilities and schedules, and the idea of rest is a foreign language. 

When I am hurt: Criticism cuts to my core. I argue, I am doing the best I can.

When I am jealous: Lives of others look better than mine—spouse, money, children. The list goes on.

When I think Jesus has let me down: My attitudes and complaints cloud any hope or joy and distance me from my Savior. In time, I find a quiet place for a oneway conversation—me complaining and
explaining the unfairness in my life to God. I talk out loud.

When I am ready, Jesus nudges me to my Bible. And, as I sense His presence, my heart opens to my Savior.

Your issue is with God—take it to Him. “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).*

You are safe inside God’s timing—wait and listen for it. “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3).

While God is rebuilding, restoring, and recreating your life, do your part—get about the business of living the best life under the circumstances. “Being  strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and giving joyful thanks to the Father” (Colossians 1:11, 12).

God works within His system—stay in it. “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my
God, in whom I trust’” (Psalm 91:1, 2).

Praise Him for the promises and solutions—and choose to accept them. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like
shifting shadows” (James 1:17).

Keep a daily record. Reading the history of experiences and answered prayers reminds us of Jesus’ leading and grows our faith and assurance. Also, have a prayer partner, someone who is in love with Jesus and is confidential. God will lead you to the right person.

There are times I relapse and dwell on my personal challenges. Still, God is so faithful and patient. His promises are sure. “Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His
house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory” (Hebrews 3:6).


* All Bible texts are from the New International Version.

Caron Oswald is retired from conference work and lives in Tennessee. She has one son and two grandchildren. She loves to write experiences of God’s power and
answered prayers in the lives of His believers.