When You Find Yourself In the Pits.
“But I called on your name, Lord, from deep within the pit. You heard me when I cried, ‘Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!’ Yes, you came when I called; you told me, ‘Do not fear.’” – Lamentations 3:55-57 NLT
What do you do when everything seems to be going wrong? Where do you turn when life seems to be falling apart? Some of us complain. Others of us get angry. Or maybe we become immobilized with fear and depression. And then there are those of us who just get busy, attempting to get themselves out of whatever situation they find themselves in. But what do you do when nothing seems to work and you find yourself in a deep pit of despair? For Jeremiah, the answer was simple: Call out to God. He had learned this lesson from experience. There was a time when he found himself in a pit – literally. He had been thrown there by those who were tired of hearing his message of God’s pending judgment. They tossed him in a pit and left him there to die. Jeremiah describes the scene: “My enemies, whom I have never harmed, hunted me down like a bird. They threw me into a pit and dropped stones on me. The water rose over my head, and I cried out, ‘This is the end!’” (Lamentations 3:52-54 NLT). But those were not the only words that Jeremiah cried out. He called out to God as well. He pleaded with God. He cried out for God’s help. From the bottom of a pit. And God heard his cries. Not only that, God answered his pleas for help and provided him with rescue. It came in the form of an Ethiopian named Ebed-Melech, who happened to be on the court of King Zedekiah. When he heard about Jeremiah’s plight, he appealed to the king and got permission to rescue him from the pit. God heard Jeremiah’s cries and sent a savior. Jeremiah was redeemed from the pit. He was rescued from his life-threatening circumstances.
So when Jeremiah found himself living in the midst of the sin and sorrow of Judah, surrounded by scenes of starvation, devastation, and hopelessness, he called out to God once again. He had learned that there was only source of hope and help in times of trouble. Jeremiah’s heart was broken over the spiritual and physical condition of Judah. He cried, “My tears flow endlessly; they will not stop until the Lord looks down from heaven and sees” (Lamentations 3:49-50 NLT). He knew that God was the only one who could help them, so he cried out to Him. Just as he did that day in the bottom of the pit, Jeremiah cried out to God, “Restore us, O Lord, and bring us back to you again! Give us back the joys we once had! (Lamentations 5:21 NLT). Jeremiah knew that the nation of Judah needed more than just rescue, they needed restoration. Restoration to a right relationship with God Almighty. Then there joy would be restored. To be rescued, but not experience true restoration would never result in joy. To see their problems solved, but without their relationship with God restored, would only end up in a short-lived sense of peace. So Jeremiah cried out, called out, and held out for salvation and restoration from the hands of God. So where do you turn when life is in the pits?
Father, we need restoration, not just rescue. We need You more than we need a solution to our problems. We need You more than we need an answer to our prayers. Help us to understand that a right relationship with You means more than rescue from trouble. We need to learn to cry out to You because we long for You more than we long for Your rescue. Amen
Grow Pastor & Minister to Men