We are living in difficult and dark times for so many people. If you are one of them, I want you to realize that you are not alone. Maybe God wants to use you to encourage someone else battling the darkness. Know that I will be praying for you and walking with you – over every mountain – through every valley. Hard times will come and the darkness will find each one of us. At some point in life, we all will face some kind of pit. It may be a pit that we have dug with our own hands of wrong choices or it could be a pit that has been uniquely designed for us by the enemy.
“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.” ~~Psalm 40:1-3
What can we do to find hope in the midst of the darkness? We have several choices about how to deal with the pain and darkness in life. We can become bitter and blame God for the pain or we can give up and wallow in the mire and mud of that slimy pit. Some of you maybe guilty of plastering a smile on your face, gritting your teeth and denying that the pit even exists. However, the choice we should make is to trust God, knowing He will deliver us in and from the pit. The Apostle Paul was an expert when it came to squeezing a seed of victory and truth out of every tough circumstance.
2 Corinthians 12:7-9 “So that I would not become too proud of the wonderful things that were shown to me, a painful physical problem was given to me. I begged the Lord three times to take this problem away from me.But he said to me, ‘My grace is enough for you.’”
Paul was not sinning by asking God to remove his affliction. Paul may not have understood what God was doing, but he chose to accept it because he knew God’s heart. Paul may not have understood God’s process but he trusted God. He was sending Paul a message of hope. It is important to note the tense of the verb in this verse, “But he said to me” can be translated “He (God) has once-for-all said to me.” It is an eternal promise.
God’s grace turns defeat into victory, tragedy into triumph and weakness into strength by providing real power over circumstances. People without Christ can muster up enough courage and human strength to get through a trial. God will not only enable us to survive the hard times, He wants us to thrive in and because of them. Paul used his pain and chose to make that pit work for him – and God’s power was unleashed in Paul’s life.
Joy is not an earthly treasure but a heavenly gift from our loving Father who is committed to the joy of His children. I am convinced that God entrusts the greatest trials to those who will respond to them in the right way. Some of the most joyful people I know have suffered the most because they have learned not to live on explanations but on promises – the promises of God.
Jesus wants to give us a life of joy, pits and all. We need to remember that joy is the deeply-rooted confidence that God is in control and that our inner attitudes do not have to reflect our outer circumstances. We can find joy in the pit.