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.

1brobry-sig4

My Dear Child – A Letter from God

Hold Hands

My Dear Child,

I see that you are trying to be
just as good as you can be
but what you clearly do not see
is you can’t do this without Me

I know that you are wondering why
I do not stop what makes you cry
but if on Me you will rely
every tear that falls I’ll dry

I love you more than you’ll ever know
in your holiness, I want to grow
and though your progress may seem slow
the path you walk in the way you must go

I will comfort you when times are tough
I will watch over you when life is rough
I will rescue you when you’ve had enough
What’s too big for you, to Me is small stuff

May the Father’s  grace and peace be yours, now and forever,

Linda

 Linda L. Kruschke’s Blog

How Well Do We Suffer?

“Some Christians are called to endure a disproportionate amount of suffering. Such Christians are a spectacle of grace to the church, like flaming bushes unconsumed, and cause us to ask, like Moses: ‘Why is this bush not burned up?'”

John Newton, Exodus 3:2

It seems that pain is the best teacher. I suppose as we navigate through life we find the ‘capacity’ of our hearts expanding. We learn the hard way to come under God’s direction, and we finally learn to love others. Maybe this is how God changes us? After all, isn’t the crushed grape that yields the wine?

C.S. Lewis once made the comment, (and it’s worth thinking about,) that “experience is the most brutal of teachers. But you learn, my God do you learn.” We face many obstacles, run into quite a few dead ends, and along the way we learn that when we really hurt, we really start to learn some things.

I look over my life and it seems chock full of challenge. I’ve lost the use of my right arm, I have struggled with depression. I had a brain tumor removed, and must walk with a cane. I struggle with intense fatigue. (I no longer can pastor a church or teach in a Bible college.)

My wife and I have lost a child. I have prayed earnestly for a complete healing and had others pray for me. It’s funny, but all of this has happened after I became a Christian disciple! I often ask myself why?

What did I do to deserve all of this?

Paul and Barnabas came into an interesting place (we can read about it in Acts 14.)

“They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.” 

“We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.”

Some of our Bible teachers we listen to minimize suffering, and we adopt a lot of our own theology to factor out pain and difficulty. But is this what the Bible teaches? If we read Hebrews 11, we find that life could be pretty grim for those with faith in God.

“Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.”

Why does it have to be so hard for believers in Jesus?

Common sense suggests that things should get easier for those who believe. We somehow think that God rewards faith with instant glory. I painfully discover that my discipleship, my faith, doesn’t mean some wonderful existence on this planet. It seems that pain becomes the way we grow up and mature in Him. I honestly believe, after over 40 years of following Jesus, that suffering is part of God’s plan for me.

It has never been easy. I wish it was.

No matter what you are going through, remember that God always loves you. He has chosen us to navigate us through much difficulty. We must however, convert these painful things by our faith in Him. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28).

We must learn to regard people less in light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Tears Have a Purpose

her-tears-grey-puddle

I’ve been thinking a lot about tears lately—in part because Pastor Bryan pointed out to me how many hits my post titled God Keeps Your Tears in a Bottle has had, in part because I’ve cried more than a few tears this year, and in part because I’ve been listening to Johnny Cash’s Cry, Cry, Cry in my car all week—and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all here.

People cry for a lot of reasons.

Earlier this year my sister died of breast cancer at only 61 years old. I cried, a lot. It’s normal and even helpful to shed tears over the death of a loved one even if we know where they are going when they die, because it allows us to express the grief we feel over not having them in our lives any more here on earth.

I remember a time I had a previous boss say some very cruel things to me in front of other people. She accused me of having done things I had not based on motives I did not have. I was very angry, hurt, and frustrated. And I cried, a lot. I didn’t cry in front of her, mind you, but afterwards I did. And it was good to express that anger to others.

Just yesterday I experienced unexpected tears.

I was reciting the prayers of the people in church, which I’ve done many times. Our church has many prayer concerns for members, family, and friends with health concerns and more. Towards the end of the prayer I began to lift up prayers for a church member’s brother-in-law who is a pastor back in New York because he is faced with conducting the funerals of two teens who had been killed in an accident last week, and with comforting the families of three other teens who are in critical condition.

I unexpectedly had tears in my eyes and my voice cracked praying for these teens and families that I don’t even know. But they were good tears because they touched those who heard my prayer and I know they touched our Lord, too.

I have cried tears of loss, anger, indignation over an injustice, frustration, compassion, and even of joy. I sometimes cry tears of regret when I hear a beautiful song about the sacrifice of Jesus, knowing it is my sin that required him to suffer.

Tears often serve a purpose, as expressed in this poem that I wrote recently:

Tears

Tears of sorrow, anger
drench my soul
course without end
eroding pain, anguish

Where once only aching
occupied my heart
now is a deep empty ravine
carved by a river of tears

Tears of forgiveness
water my soul’s riverbed
allowing flowers of love
to flourish and grow

Peace arises in my heart
held aloft by God’s promises
the fragrance of sweet alyssum
blossoms of my soul

I think the saddest tears of all, though, are the tears of major clinical depression. These tears are so sad because the one who cries them doesn’t know what purpose they serve.

I remember when I was suffering from depression sitting in a chair and just crying. When someone asked me why I was crying all I could say was, “I don’t know.” And I truly didn’t. The tears didn’t wash away pain; they only seemed to make it all the worse.

In the midst of such tears, there is One who knows their purpose.

Romans 8:26 says: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Through prayer God can sometimes lead us to an understanding of the purpose of the tears of depression, and ultimately to healing. Often the wounds are so deep it takes years and a great many groaning prayers to heal. But we must accept our weakness and our need for God’s Holy Spirit to intercede for us.

For me, after much prayer of my own, the blessed prayers of others, and the intercession of the Holy Spirit, God led me to an understanding of the purpose of my tears. They were tears of anger and unforgiveness; they were tears of lament that I had allowed myself to remain in bondage to the sins of another for so long.

With God’s help, the tears did lead to healing once I truly understood why I was crying.

May You Know His Peace,

Linda K

Linda has a good blog that touches hearts worldwide. 

 

 

 

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