A good friend of mine is an assistant football coach for the University of Texas, and he’ll call me during all hours of the day or night when he’s facing one of these trials. He calls me to talk through his trial, or as he puts it, the “trick bag.” In fact, he calls me so much about his “trick bags” that I’ve now nicknamed my friend “Trick bag,” and I call him that every time I see him.

A trick bag is a catch-22. It’s where you find yourself stuck between a rock and a hard place. Your back is up against the wall, and no matter how hard you try, there seems to be no visible solution. The only way to get out of your scenario would be illegitimately, because there is no valid way out.

When you are in a trick bag, you feel trapped, stuck, and tired of where you are. You either don’t know what to do, or you don’t know how to legitimately do what you feel you need to do. You are like Israel when they faced Pharaoh on one side and the Red Sea on the other, and certain death was upon them.

A trick bag is a lose-lose deal. If it were a clear win-lose deal, then you would know how to choose and where to turn. But what do you do when you’re caught between a rock and a hard place? What option do you choose when both options are bad? Have you ever been in a situation where all of the ways that you turn to are problems, and you are just trying to find the least possible problem to choose as the solution?

I’ve been in situations like that and it’s not fun. It’s about as fun as huffing and puffing on that treadmill in my doctor’s office during my annual physical exam. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is that God has a purpose for these times in our lives. Just like my doctor is not a mean man for putting my body through all of that stress, God is not a mean God when He decrees that we go through trials.

When God wants to reveal the real condition of your heart to empower you toward His plan for your future, He puts you in one of these kinds of trials. And when God puts you in a certain kind of trial, trick bag, catch-22, or between a rock and a hard place, He is getting ready to do something significant in your life. That’s the conclusion of this book, and it comes at the beginning.

Tony Evans, Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers, 2010).


Check out the 6-week Bible Study based on Tony Evans, Between a Rock and a Hard Place.  It is available on Amazon. It is also available as well as part of my Good Questions Have Groups Talking subscription service.

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