March 12, 2013
Promises from the Pit
“You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light” (Psalm 18:28, NIV).
Friend to Friend
Have you ever received a gift that you wanted to return but couldn’t? I certainly felt that way about the pit of depression when I first experienced it. I wanted to take this nasty black hole to the nearest “Pit Store” and exchange it for a tall mountain of victory. But I have come to the place where I thank God for what He has done in my life through the pit of depression. Anything that makes us cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.
We all have a pit of some kind in our lives. Your pit may not be depression. It may be an addiction that you find hard to conquer. Your pit may be a difficult relationship or a life plan gone wrong. It may be a diagnosis of cancer or a chronic physical disease that keeps your broken, wondering if God even cares. He does. I know because I am what you might call a seasoned “pit dweller.” Let me share some truths I have learned through my struggle with the pit of depression.
Pits are a certainty. Hard times will come. Darkness will find us. We will, at some point in our lives, find ourselves in a pit. It may be a pit of wrong choices and foolish decisions we have dug with our own hands. It may be a customized pit prepared for us by the enemy himself. But a pit is a pit! And all pits are basically the same—dark, lonely, and filled with the ugliness of life.
Pits have a purpose. Every pit has a purpose and comes to us for a reason. Pits have an amazing way of bringing balance to life: a balance between sorrow and joy, between darkness and light, between faith and doubt, between weakness and strength. Life is like a prescription. The individual ingredients may seem harmful, but when they are blended and balanced, they bring health. Pits are part of the prescription of life.
Pits demand that we change our perspective. They make us stop and scrutinize priorities, eliminating the trivial and focusing on the important. Pits give us new eyes and a heavenly focus.
Pits come to strengthen us. Our struggle to escape the darkness forces us to admit our insufficiency and search for power outside of our own.
You can get out of the pit. If there is one central message of this devotion, it is hope. I made it out of the pit and so can you! The path may seem endless and even cruel at times, but remember that you did not slip into that pit overnight and you will not climb out overnight. The journey out of the pit begins and ends with one small step. Walk straight ahead through your fear. And with each step, moment-by-moment, the darkness will slowly begin to lift.
You can return to the pit. When it comes to pits, there is bad news and good news. The bad news is that those who struggle with depression may struggle with it for a lifetime. The good news is that the things that got you out of the pit will keep you out of the pit. I often step to the edge of that familiar black hole because I want to remember how I got there. Then I throw a party in my soul and rejoice in the journey out of the pit!
You can learn to stay out of the pit. Hedges of protection must be planted around the pit of depression. Priorities must be set. Balance must be kept. Habits must be cultivated. Accountability must be sought. Lessons must be learned. These hedges must be constantly tended in order to provide constant protection. In other words, keep doing what you know to do.
God will use your pit. From the depths of every pit comes a message of hope…a message of power…a message of grace. It is a message for us to share. God does not want us to just endure the pits of life. People without Christ can muster up enough courage—enough human strength—to get through a trial, but God has a better plan. He does not want us to just survive the pain. He wants us to rise above it—to celebrate it and use it!
On the other side of the pit you will find that you can minister to others who are in the grip of darkness. You understand their fear. You know the reality of their despair and the depth of their pain. Hurting people will listen to you when they will listen to no one else. Why? Because you were once like them…a pit dweller.
When you begin to share your journey—when you make the choice to help others find their way to the light—God will strengthen you and keep you out of the pit. The choice to use your pit will unleash God’s power in your life as never before.
Life is sweeter on the other side of the pit. We cannot really know just how bright the light is until we have spent time in the darkness. On the other side of the pit, the sun is brighter. The sky is bluer. Every day is filled with the discovery of fresh hope and new joy. Relationships grow deeper and fuller. Peace settles around you like an old familiar friend. The intimate and faithful presence of a loving Father becomes the reality you once dreamed of knowing.
A beekeeper once told F.B. Meyer how some of the young bees are nurtured to ensure their healthy development. The queen lays each egg in a six-sided cell, which is filled with enough pollen and honey to nourish the egg until it reaches a certain stage of maturity. The top is then sealed with a capsule of wax.
When the food is gone, it is time for the tiny creature to be released. The wax is so hard to penetrate that the bee can make only a very narrow opening. It is so narrow that in the agony of exit, the bee rubs off the membrane that encases its wings. When it finally does emerge, it is able to fly!
The man telling the story said that one time a moth got into the hive and devoured the wax capsules. As a result the young bees crawled out without any effort or trouble. But they could not fly.
Remember, my friend, it is through the struggle of the trial—the journey out of the pit that the very best part of us takes flight. One day soon, you will look around to see that you are coming out of the dark.
Father, I come to You – helpless and alone. The darkness is overwhelming and no one seems to understand. I am desperate for You and the healing that I know can only be found in You. Lead me, Lord. Teach me, Father. Right now, I surrender to You and the plan You have for my life. By faith, I thank You for the pit in my life that makes me cry out to You.
In Jesus’s name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV) “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."
· Record Psalm 40:1-3 in your journal. Circle each action word such as “waited.”
· What actions does God ask you to take to get out of your pit?
· What does God promise to do in your life when you take those actions?
· Are you ready to step out in faith and trust God to deliver you from the pit of darkness in your life?
More from the Girlfriends
Since each lesson stands alone, it is not too late to join Mary’s weekly online Bible Study, Light for the Journey, for practical ways to tap into the power of God’s Word. When you join, you have access to all of the 2013 lessons. The current study is Power Up With Proverbs.
If you or someone you love struggles with depression, Mary’s book, Hope in the Midst of Depression, offers practical steps you can take to experience God’s deliverance from that pit and live a life of victory. And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.
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