Praying From a Dark Pit

“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.”

3″He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.”

Psalms 40:1-3, NLT

Psalm 40 is jam packed with great and wonderful truth. It contains freedom for the Christian– a way out for the broken believer. We do well when we use it, and that’s what it’s there for. The deep pit has been used over many centuries as the way God teaches us to sing certain songs. But that doesn’t make it easier, does it?

Verse 1

I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.

Waiting is a critical word, it should not be regarded as perfunctory or a trivial word. In our daily walk we must be patiently seeking the Lord, that comes first. Admitting you need help is the first step. And guess what? You need help. :-)

The word ‘wait’ is special, it’s kawvah in Hebrew. It can mean ‘to bind together by twisting.‘ It can be used with the idea of braiding strands of rope together. It is never a passive act that just happens. Waiting on God is to be done with intentional purpose.

Remember that the Lord is not some distant deity on a hill far away.

He is closer to you than you think. He is responsive and aware. He hears your cries and wants to act; He is not deaf, but our patience is critical. Waiting on Him is crucial to being free. We must bind and twist our hearts and live our life to His desires.

Verse 2

He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along.

The seeable terrain can be awful. There are muddy paths and mucky pits. Things that pull you down and suck you in. They’ll trap the traveler. But the Holy Spirit is quite able to lift us out. He picks us up and secures us. He uses the rope of God’s Word.

He is way more willing to save us, than we are to being saved.

Solid ground is where we are meant to be. It’s become a place of firm standing and secure footing. He makes us steady and He keeps us safe. The Holy Spirit now has intimate care over your soul.

Verse 3-4

“He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God.

Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.

Some of the greatest songs are the ones that come from those just delivered from the pit. These ‘pit songs’ are offered to God from sincere and true hearts that have once been trapped. There’s something solid heard from the hearts of those redeemed from disaster.

These songs no longer sound religious or contrived.

“YOU CAN SEE GOD FROM ANYWHERE IF YOUR MIND IS SET TO LOVE AND OBEY HIM.”

A.W. Tozer

From our deepest pits come our greatest praises.

There is a passionate quality that saturates these ‘pit praises’ that is highly treasured by God, and esteemed and valued by the Church– a sense of authenticity starts to be finally heard. We can finally start to see that our pits become ‘launching pads’ of true songs of deliverance.

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Things are Not What They Seem

“Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler, and from the perilous pestilence.”

He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.”

Psalm 91:3-4, NKJV

I believe that there is great opposition to living free. Satan contests every square inch. His modus operandi parallels the predator. He likes to hunt human beings. We see his power and influence all around us.

I’m being quite careful not to be melodramatic when I say this, but Satan has a terrible plan for your life. He often uses human ‘lackeys’ to carry out his wishes. They will use deception, lies, and foolishness to snare people’s souls. They [he] will even resort to brute force. As a result, many believers are being persecuted for their faith.

14 “David now stayed in the strongholds of the wilderness and in the hill country of Ziph. Saul hunted him day after day, but God didn’t let Saul find him.”
1 Samuel 23:14, NLT
5 “My future is in your hands.  Rescue me from those who hunt me down relentlessly.”
Psalm 31:15
7 “We escaped like a bird from a hunter’s trap. The trap is broken, and we are free!”
Psalm 124:7

And there is plenty more where this comes from. And we haven’t even got to the New Testament yet, where there are substantial references to this kind of attack. The doctrine of Satan is developed further there. Perhaps it is because we encounter the person of Jesus Christ and the act of personal redemption He made for each of us. Through this, we discover that we have an enemy that we were never really aware of before. And guess what— he hates us!

Some New Testament thoughts:
4 “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News.”
2 Corinthians 4:4
12 “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.”
Ephesians 6:12

Just as we have a personal savior in Jesus, we find we also have an antagonist and a sworn enemy. We didn’t ask for it, and it would be really swell if he didn’t exist at all. But the world’s evil around us has a source and we dare not minimize it.

“There is no neutral ground in the universe; every square inch, every split second, is claimed by God and counter-claimed by Satan.”

CS Lewis

 

Our fealty to Jesus becomes critical at times like this. Spiritual warfare has an ebb and a flow to it, sometimes the battles can be intense, and at other times less so. But we can do nothing at all apart from the blood of Christ. We must defend ourselves, by calling out to God, or else we will become a casualty.

  1. We can pray.
  2. We can read the truth (the Bible).
  3. We can praise and worship.
  4. We can put on “the armor of God’ (Ephesians 6:11).
  5. We can “submit to God” (James 4:7).
  6. We can resist Satan and be firm in our faith, (1 Peter 5:9).
  7. We can “plead the blood of Jesus” over our lives, and over our loved ones, (Exodus 12:13)

Probably the capstone is the following verse. This pretty much sums up this ‘act of resistance’ we are all called to do. I wanted to emphasize it because it is critical:

Stay alert!”

“Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.”

1 Peter 5:8

Poetry of the Broken

Last Saturday I purchased a wonderful find at Powell’s Books (Portland, Oregon’s own homegrown new and used bookstore) – a used book called “Invisible Light: Poems about God” – for only $4.50. And it is in excellent condition.

It’s a collection of poems by various poets, some well-known and some not so well-known, as well as a few Psalms and other pieces of poetic scripture. I noticed in the table of contents that there were two poems by William Cowper, who I first heard of when reading “When the Darkness Will Not Lift” by John Piper. (See my book review of that book here).

Both of Cowper’s poems were so beautiful; it made me wonder why I even try to write poetry. (But I do know my poetry is getting better, and reading poems like Cowper’s just makes me want to learn more about poetry and get better at writing it).

I want to share one of Cowper’s poems with the readers at Broken Believers. I do so because it is a great reminder that even when we think we are too lost and broken to be of any use to God, even then God can do the impossible. He can take a broken vessel and cause great light and wonder to pour from its cracks. I am thankful for the poetry Cowper wrote, and for the witness that he provides of the truth that God uses the broken for astonishing things.

William Cowper, English poet and hymnodist
(1731-1800)

Cowper suffered from recurrent bouts of depression and severe mental illness. At times he was convinced that he was damned for all eternity and that he was a lost soul. Nonetheless, he was able to write some truly inspiring poetry and hymns to glorify God. This particular poem will cause the “Comfortless, broken, afflicted to delight in the joy of a life to come where all pain and sorrow will cease, and the glory of Jesus will be all we need.”

If you are struggling, feeling like you can never be of any use to God, take heart. God is in the business of using His power and wisdom in tandem with the broken believer to accomplish great things.

The Future Peace and Glory of the Church
by William Cowper

Hear what the Lord hath spoken:-
O my people, faint and few;
Comfortless, afflicted, broken,
Fair abodes I build for you:
Thorns of heartfelt tribulation
Shall no more perplex your ways;
You shall name your walls, Salvation,
And your gates shall all be Praise.
There, like streams that feed the garden,
Pleasures, without end, shall flow;
For the LORD, your faith rewarding,

All his bounty shall bestow:
Still in undisturb’d possession,
Peace and righteousness shall reign;
Never shall you feel oppression,
Hear the voice of war again.
You no more your suns descending,
Waning moons no more shall see;
But, your griefs forever ending,
Find eternal noon in me:
God shall rise, and shining o’er ye,
Change to day the gloom of night;
He, the LORD, shall be your glory,
God, your everlasting light.

Hymn No. 10 of The Olney Hymns

Peace, Linda K.

You can find Linda’s own blog at anotherfearlessyear.net.

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Broken Heart of Love – A Poem

 

This poem was written for someone I love who struggles with bipolar disorder. Though I have suffered through depression, anxiety, and panic attacks, I can never truly understand her pain. I want to help but I am at a loss as to what to do. I wanted to share this here so those who suffer from mental illness might know how your suffering breaks the hearts of those who love you but don’t know what to do.

Broken Heart of Love

This searing pain in my heart
I wish it would go away
I pray for it to leave me
But it is love
I would be hollow without it

I watch you drowning
in a sea of turmoil and fear
I reach out my hand,
the one connected to my broken heart
“It’s okay, the sailing’s fine,” you say

I walk away, thinking perhaps
my eyes deceive me and you are not
drowning, or else why
would you say otherwise?
I know you would not lie

But still this pain
deep down inside my aching heart
reminds me
that you are not fine,
the sea is not calm

The storm rages
but I cannot rescue you
You cannot see my hand
reaching through the darkness
beckoning you to dry land

*

ysic, Linda K.

 

Linda’s website

 

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