Quicksand is a bit of a misnomer since it can be a mass of sand, clay or dirt particles in which water has become trapped. The water is what turns the sand into thick liquid mud that collapses under the weight. The quicksand then re-solidifies above the weight, trapping whatever has sunk in. The official definition is “loose wet sand that yields easily to pressure and sucks in anything resting on or falling into it.” Unlike typical mud, quicksand appears solid and only once you step through it, does it liquefy under your feet.
It is a trap that does not appear like a trap at first glance. Yet once you are trapped, it is difficult to get out as the mud seems to suck you in even deeper when you move or try to get out.
For me, quicksand is a decision taken to step out or embrace an action without much thought.
Like a foolish man, that builds his life on the sand, then the rain comes, and like quicksand, the decision pulls you into a pit of clay that sucks you in, and you cannot get out quickly. It washes away your foundation and it could cost you and your loved ones more than you bargained for, even your life.
Firstly, the sand that appears innocent and then catches you: it is a financial decision that traps you in monetary commitments or a relationship that once embraced, leads to an affair of the heart. Sin often appears innocent and holds consequences never considered. Even our self-will and autonomy appear good to us; our way seems right to us.
There is also the other quicksand which is obvious, and we choose to step into it to see what happens. Only then when we get sucked in, do we realise how dangerous it is. Here I am thinking of that thought pattern that colours your thought life, e.g. Self-pity or negativity. There is also the quicksand of holding onto a grudge or offence or allowing oneself to wallow in unforgiveness. The quicksand of words said without thought of feelings or consequences in our relationships. The secret sin that no-one knows about.
Innocent it may seem, but quicksand nevertheless.
The Bible has examples of decisions to step into quicksand, these were biblical leaders who thought nothing of their steps and landed up with situations much more significant than they bargained on. There is Moses, who killed one man and thought he could conceal it. Jacob, who traded a bowl of soup for inheritance. David, who planned one murder to get what he wanted. Peter who told one lie.
None of them was successful in limiting the consequences of their decision to step into the quicksand.
I think David stepped into quicksand in Psalm 40.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” (Psalm 40:1-3)
For David, this experience must have paralleled a life or situation without the Lord. A pit of mud and mire, where you get sucked in, cannot find a foothold and feel you are sinking deeper. I think it is what our life feels like when we don’t rely on and trust in the Lord, we feel like we are lost, sinking, in despair. There is no anchor to our life. I often wonder how people cope in life without the Lord. He is the rock on which we stand, all other ground is sinking sand.
David also showed the way out of this pit of clay. He cried out to the Lord in prayer and put His trust in the Lord.
“Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud, to those who turn aside to false gods.” (verse 4)
“Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
For troubles without number surround me; my sins have overtaken me, and I cannot see.
They are more than the hairs of my head, and my heart fails within me.
Be pleased to save me, Lord; come quickly, Lord, to help me.” (verse 11-13)
As you know, see the previous blog posts, I have been meditating on the “solid rock on which I stand” and how “all other ground is sinking sand” as I stand before the Lord. I came across this adapted translation of that hymn “On Christ the Solid Rock I Stand.” Written by Bradley McKensie, from Germany, he translated it as follows:
We dared to trust another frame and failed to lean on Jesus’ name.
Now darkness seems to veil His face. Do we too late appeal for grace?
Now in a high and stormy gale, have we that anchor ‘yond the veil?
His oath, His covenant, His blood, of which availed amidst the flood,
When all around our soul gives way, should yet well be our hope and stay.
Then, when He comes with trumpet sound, in Him, we shall indeed be found,
dressed in His righteousness alone, faultless to stand before the throne!
On Christ, the solid Rock, we stand. All other ground is sinking sand.
All other ground is sinking sand.
- Can you identify sinking sand in your life or your families life? Or remember an occasion where you stepped into sinking sand?
- What sinking sand could you be choosing to step into, thinking that it is innocent enough and cannot do any harm?
- What sinking sand have you chosen for your life because choosing the solid path would be difficult for you?
Thank you, Lord, that you have put my feet on the Rock of Jesus and given me a firm place to stand and build my life upon. Help me not to be foolish now, stepping off the Rock and Your ways, to play on the sand for a moment. I know that sand is dangerous for my life walk, so open my eyes to rely only on You Lord and not the sand of my own making. I declare that I choose a life where your love and faithfulness will protect me even when trouble surrounds me and sin seems to overtake me. I know that you will save me and keep me on solid ground.