“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. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3)
Recently, I began a word study on the word “pit”. Mainly, because there are still too many days when I feel like I’m living in one. My life, by most standards is a great one: good job (5 minutes from home), godly boss and co-workers, good marriage and family, good health (even the aging aches and pains aren’t that bad), etc., etc. And compared to so many of my family and friends that are truly living with stress I have nothing to complain or murmur about. And yet, there is that one thing that has tormented me for 14 years, the battle to come up out of my slimy pit once and for all and stand firm on that rock of freedom! It’s that torment that keeps me lingering in a place God never intended for me.
The Oxford Dictionary defines “pit” as: a covered trap, hollow on a surface, sunken area. Doesn’t that have all the sounds of our enemy’s tactics? He covers; he traps; he is of no substance, his ways are hollow, he seeks to sink us. Of the 49 references to the word “pit” in the New Testament I didn’t find one that represented anything good. In fact, Beth Moore in her book, Get Out of That Pit, says that “a pit is an early grave that Satan digs for you in hopes he can bury you alive.” Isn’t that powerful? I read that and thought of a person who might be told her lab results show she’s heading toward pre-diabetes, then she becomes pre-diabetic, then she is full on diabetic. All because she didn’t heed the early warning signs that a pit was up ahead. I’ll be honest, while this woman is only hypothetical; it is hopefully a good illustration of how the progression of a pit can occur. How many days do we watch and listen to reports of others dealing with the onslaught of physical maladies often times because they simply didn’t take care of their temple when they were first warned? The Lord said to me just this morning, “You must do your part. I’m always faithful to do mine.”
Thin Within offers a gift like no other program does. It offers the gift of learning how to let the Lord pull us out of the slimy pit, the mud and mire, and set our feet on a rock, a firm place to stand. And like I said in a recent blog, there are a multitude of comrades waiting for us on that rock. Our short-term goal (temporal) is to, “live a new life of joy and freedom” (p. 47, Hunger Within). That goal can only be met outside the pit of despair where Jesus himself is waiting to put a new song in our mouths, a hymn of praise to our God. Remember, as it says it the scripture above, “many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord. That’s our ultimate (eternal) goal.
I’ve agreed to lead a Thin Within small group in my home this coming March and I can tell you I feel less than qualified because I haven’t made much progress with my physical weight loss. However, I’ve been growing spiritually by leaps and bounds. In fact, in my one-on-one coaching with Heidi the Lord showed me something. God may not allow me to lose weight yet, because he’s doing a deeper work in me. If I dropped the weight immediately, I’d miss that deep work and likely return to the slimy pit again. I don’t know about you, but I need that deep work done in my heart. I don’t ever want to return to that pit again. And on those days when I feel like I’m living there I have to tell myself the truth, out loud, “HE TURNED TO ME AND HEARD MY CRY. HE LIFTED ME OUT OF THE SLIMY PIT.” He’s already done it! That’s what He did at my salvation. Now, my assignment is to walk it out, living in the joy and freedom He came to give.
What about you? Do you feel like you’re living in the pit? Do you recognize the enemy’s tactics to keep you living in that place? What are you doing to get out and stay out? Join me in eating, breathing and living in God’s truth … that He’s already turned to you, heard your cry, and lifted you out. Make it your goal to find out how to walk in your “new normal”, your new reality. It’s the place where joy and freedom exist.