‘I’m [not] a celebrity, but get me out of here!’
One thing I know for sure is I would never volunteer for this reality show. And not just because I’m not a celebrity! I don’t think I could do those horrendous bushtucker trials.
The responsibility on the person concerned is huge as they get food for the whole camp. I don’t think I can even describe some of the things they do without feeling squeamish.
The thing about the show is that contestants always have the option of saying, ‘I’m a celebrity … Get me out of here!’ and then they’re back to a normal life!
But, to be fair, most contestants don’t use their ‘Get out of jail free’ card. They stay and try to win. Something keeps them going — it’s only for a short period (15-21 days) and they are helping raise money for charity. In 2010, Malaria No More UK was the charity the show supported.
There will be times in our lives when we wish we could get out of trying circumstances. It’s those times when it feels like you can’t take another step, when you’re washed out, emotionally drained and ready to say, ‘Get me out of here!’
David knew how it was to feel this way and expressed his feelings in Psalm 55: ‘Oh that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest’.
Grief calls for endurance. No matter how much we build walls of protection around ourselves, grief robs us of strength and brings us to our knees. There are mornings when you wake up only to feel the ache of your broken heart.
Why can’t things just go back to being the way they were? But they can’t. The only option is to go forward, through your hurt and pain.
What are you facing that needs endurance? Looking after a member of your family needing constant care? Discovering you will never be a parent? Being made redundant? Your husband or wife tells you they no longer love you? Your child falls in with a bad crowd? You are assaulted, fighting an addiction, lonely, or afraid of the future?
How do you keep going? God has been teaching me over the past few years not to give up when things are difficult, but to keep going, even if it is just one step at a time. There is such a fine line between giving up and going on.
Giving up might appear like the easy option, but actually it is much harder. It takes much more strength and energy to nurse our grief and hurt than it does to deal with it.
There is a brilliant illustration of endurance in C. S. Lewis’ Silver chair, where the children, Jill and Scrub, and their marsh-wiggle friend Puddlegum, have been taken captive by the Queen of Underworld.
The Queen tries to enchant them by throwing a green powder on the fire and strumming a mandolin. Her tactic is to lull them into believing there is no other world except her Underworld.
Initially they try and fight the enchantment but eventually become drowsy and begin to believe that their memories of an Overworld are just a dream. It appears like the Queen has won, until Puddlegum makes a stand.
‘But Puddlegum, desperately gathering all his strength, walked over to the fire. Then he did a very brave thing. He knew it wouldn’t hurt him quite as much as it would hurt a human; for his feet were webbed…
‘But he knew it would hurt him badly enough; and so he did. With his bare foot he stamped on the fire, grinding a large part of it into ashes on the flat hearth. And three things happened at once … the pain itself made Puddlegum’s head for a moment perfectly clear and he knew exactly what he really thought.
‘There is nothing like a good shock of pain for dissolving certain kinds of magic. “I’m on Aslan’s side, even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia”.’
There will be times when we will be the ones who have to put our hands in the fire and help others through difficult times. It is not easy, but it is necessary, ‘Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they too may obtain salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory’ (2 Timothy 2:10).
One of my Bible heroes is Caleb. Despite everything, Caleb never gave up.
Moses was told to choose twelve men to explore the land of Canaan and Caleb was chosen from the tribe of Judah. God had already made the promise, ‘See I am sending an angel ahead of you to guard you along the way and to bring you to the place I have prepared’ (Exodus 23:20), and they had seen how God had been protecting them.
The twelve were given instructions: ‘Go up through the Negev and on into the hill country. See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many. What kind of land do they live in? Is it good or bad? What kind of towns do they live in? Are they unwalled or fortified?’ (Numbers 13:17-19).
Three hundred miles and 40 days later, they returned and gave their report. The report given was true, but it wasn’t framed in the context of God’s promise. Fear had crept into the hearts of the spies because of the ‘giants and fortified towns’.
It was as if they were saying, ‘Yeah, the land is a great place to live, but there is no way we could fight the people, because they are too big, too strong, too many’. They had forgotten God’s promise.
But, not all the spies agreed. Caleb and Joshua saw the whole thing in the light of God’s promise.
Caleb was horrified when he heard the others being so negative and couldn’t keep quiet: ‘We should go up and take possession of the land for we can certainly do it’ (Numbers 13:30).
The reply came back quickly: ‘We can’t attack those people, they are stronger than we are … the land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size … We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them’ (Numbers 13:31-33).
Caleb tried to persuade the people, tearing his clothes as a sign of grief and saying, ‘The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, he will lead us into that land, a land flowing with milk and honey, and will give it to us’ (Numbers 14:7-8).
Sadly, the people didn’t believe Joshua and Caleb and the result was serious. God said, ‘Not one of them will ever see the land I promised on oath to their fore-fathers. No one who has treated me with contempt will ever see it.
‘But because my servant Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly, I will bring him into the land he went to, and his descendants will inherit it’ (Numbers 14:23-24).
So, for 40 years Caleb had to traverse the desert with those who disbelieved. It must have been incredibly difficult for him not to become bitter and resentful toward them. Yet he endured this with dignity, and chose to continue believing God despite going round in circles for years. He managed to stay fresh and focused on God.
Joshua became the leader after Moses. They both believed God, but only one of them could become the next leader. This didn’t seem to cause a problem for Caleb; and the only conclusion I can come to is that he was so consumed with God that he didn’t have time to waste on power plays.
Caleb is an inspiration for facing all circumstances with your heart fixed on God. Listen to him 45 years later: ‘Here I am today, 85 years old! I am still as strong today as the day Moses sent me out; I’m just as vigorous to go out to battle now as I was then. Now give me this hill country that the Lord promised me that day’ (Joshua 14:10-12).
Caleb was a warrior who relied on the Lord. Maybe you feel you have been going round and round in circles, that you are trapped in circumstances you didn’t choose for yourself.
Let the example of Caleb inspire you to keep going. One day, the time will come to move into the place that God has promised you.
What seems an impossibility now will become possible, as God opens up a way that only he could open up! Until then, wait patiently for God to say: ‘It’s time and I’m now going to get you out of there!’
© Dena Macleod