Breaking Point: Finding God In The Pit
1 I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. 2 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. 3 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.
From time to time we all find ourselves in the pits. We seem to be at our breaking point. We get discouraged with where we aren't, depressed with where we are, and disappointed with ourselves because of it. This general sense of hopelessness overwhelms us when we find ourselves here.
In these pits, these breaking points, the only person that is able to deliver us is God. While struggling with infertility my wife and I were in such a dark place. We knew we were born to be parents, God placed that within our hearts, but why were we struggling with having a baby. We couldn't wrap our heads around it. We were discouraged, depressed and disappointed. Finally, God delivered us from that burden because now look at us and our 4 kids! I am sure that if given the opportunity some of us could go on for days with similar testimonies of God's deliverance. God uses these people and their stories to lift us up out of the pits.
I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.
-- C.S. Lewis.
But what about those times before deliverance. We know that God wants the best for us, not depression, discouragement, or disappointment. But what do we do when we can't see Him or feel Him moving.
Psalm 40 is an awesome reflection of David recalling of a time where God delivered him out of his pit and also a kind of playbook step-by-step on how to go through the time before the delivering.
Patience is one of those things we have a lot of when we don't need it and not enough of when we do. David patiently waited on God. Do you ever wonder what that looks like. Patiently waiting of God. It almost gives you a sense that there was this great need and David went on without worry or a moment's notice, like nothing was wrong. I sometimes feel like that’s what people want me to do when they tell me to wait on His timing. Me being a terribly impatient person, that's next to impossible. I want God to do it now! If he's going to move and build his church, I want it now! Anyone else with me? If He's going to deliver me from this horrible burden (whatever that might be) I want Him to do it now! I don't want to wait.
I don't see David going through like nothing's wrong just blindly waiting. I mean look at the second half of verse 1, "he turned to me and heard my cry." I'm pretty sure David was praying earnestly for God to something. But doing so knowing that God knew what was going on and wanted to do it in His time.
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
2. Seek His Face
The second thing we know for sure as I just mentioned is that David cried out to God. All too often we turn to other sources in times of trouble. We seek financial advice from people we know are good with money, marital advice from people who have been married a while. When anything looks like it could go even remotely south, I'm on the phone with my dad asking for his opinion on what I should do.
The longer I go seeking others, the more I find myself seeking God less!
It's kind of ridiculous, right? That I wouldn't go to the author of the universe for wisdom on things that he created. He might not have created the currency and the financial model, but he created the minds to hold those ideas, the paper or metal that the money was made from, the time that it takes to gather wealth or to lose it. Plus, it's all His anyway, so why on earth wouldn't I cry out to Him for help. This isn’t just a money thing; it's just money seems to be a very common thread among people.
If only we would pray more. If only we would seek Him more!
There is this verse in 2 Chronicles 7 that gets misquoted almost every time it's used in a sermon, yes, I have even done it myself. Not intentionally. God is teaching me something new about prayer and this is one of those things he's teaching me. Maybe you’ve heard this before:
14 if my people who are called by my name humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.
Oh man I just love this! This IS NOT a verse about, or for, the United States of America. I know that I may have just offended some of you but hear me out. This was a promise set forward for the people of Israel. For God's chosen people. Guess what: Americans are not God's chosen people. This isn't Gods second Jerusalem. We are no more special as a country than anyone else in the eyes of God. But the good news: We are God's chosen people! The church. Us, here in this place. Our brothers and sisters in Syria, in China, in all of these third world countries, who are being attacked on a daily basis for the cause of Christ. Anyone on this earth who has been washed by the blood of Jesus Christ has claim to this promise.
You want God to change your circumstances, "heal your land" if you will, then you had best be on your face!
So, there you have it, David's 2 step plan for a successful life. Patience and prayer.
Now that you have that mastered, what do you do when God comes through? You praise your face off.
So many times, we just shrug off when we are pulled from that pit. We act as if that’s only something for me, it can't help anyone else, my victories are my own and only intended for me. What, you don't believe me, think of the last time you praised God for something He did in your life, publicly. Now think of the last time you publicly asked for people to pray for you or someone you know.
We have got to rid the Church of cowardice and embarrassment! Why on earth do you care what I think? So much so that you would refrain from telling, or rather shouting, what God has done for you.
I know y'all know how to sing, I've heard you from time to time. Let's just do it more often and in public places. How funny would that look, you're in Wal-Mart and out of nowhere you belt out "I'm no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God," you will probably get 1 of 2 reactions:
1. Whoa lookout, weirdo on the loose.
2. I want to know how you overcame this fear because I'm at the end of my rope and don't see any way out.
Doesn't the smallest chance of #2 outweigh the awkwardness of #1. And another thing scripture tells us that:
Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.
Whether you are in the pit or standing firm on higher ground, you better be patiently praying and praising.
As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive…