DON'T QUIT IN THE PIT

Friends, check this out – “On any given day, we find ourselves on a peak, in a pit, or somewhere in between. We’d love to remain on the peaks of life—those times of extreme joy and gladness. Unfortunately, though, a lot of people spend too much of their time in a pit, whether it’s a pit of emotional despair, financial hardship, mental anguish, physical pain, or something else. What’s even more unfortunate is that many people park in the pit and never get out. Discouraged and defeated, they decide to remain where they are instead of determining to escape their pit and climb the next peak. You can’t afford to park in the pit. Your life—and your ultimate destiny—depend on your determining to trust God and get out.

If you feel like you’re in a pit, relax. You’re not the first person to find yourself looking up from within what feels like a deep, dark hole. In the Old Testament, we read about a guy named Joseph who found himself in his own pit—literally! For Joseph, that pit looked like a dark dead end, but it was truly a pathway to the palace—a direct route, at that. See Genesis 37

In the New Testament, we read about the apostle Paul, a respected Jewish leader who became a Christian, won souls for Jesus, and consequently found himself in his own pit. Paul’s pit was in the form of a ship tossed in a raging storm. Everybody wanted to jump off the boat, but God told Paul, “Don’t abandon ship—you’ll come through this!”  Acts 27.

Both Joseph and Paul needed a rope of hope to climb out of the pit. Their rope of hope was the same one that’s available for you—God’s Word. The Bible provides a map to guide us out of any and every pit that we find ourselves in. Psalms 34:19 says, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all” (NKJV). In other words, we all will experience “pits” in our lives—they’re inevitable—but we can escape when we grab hold of the rope of hope and determine to climb out.

I travel a lot by car, but I don’t like to use a GPS. So, I always study a map before I leave to go somewhere. If I don’t study the map beforehand or refer to it during my trip, I’m almost guaranteed to get lost. Arriving at my planned destination is as easy as reading the map, but I have to read it—I can’t automatically absorb knowledge of the route. And the same rule is true regarding our map out of the pit. We have to read the Word of truth—the Bible, which is our map! Jn. 8:32 says, “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” The truth on its own doesn’t set you free; it’s the truth that you know that sets you free.

The good news is that every pit has the potential to be temporary because the Word promises that God will deliver us from every affliction. The rope of hope—God’s Word—will never disappoint us. “Then you will know that I am the LORD; those who hope in me will not be disappointed” (Isa. 49)

Abraham didn’t hold on to the facts in front of him. He held on to a rope of hope that God had thrown him, and, at one hundred years of age, he was still hanging on!

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Rom. 4)

Against all hope in the natural realm, Abraham clung to the rope of hope by believing the Word of God. God had given him a promise, and he believed it! He didn’t deny the facts; he faced them. The truth always outweighs the facts. And when we place our hope in the truth, as Abraham did, our faith can change the facts!

Our hope comes from whatever we are trusting in. If I am trusting in a paycheck, my spouse, or child support to take care of me, the day will probably come when that trusted thing or person will fall through, resulting in a loss of hope. If I am trusting in people to meet my emotional needs, the day will probably come when they let me down, and I lose my source of hope. Don’t get me wrong—we need to trust people, but we don’t need to trust in people. We need to trust in the Lord alone. When we trust in Him, our hope is in Him, and we are filled with unconditional joy and peace. What we put our trust in will determine how much time we spend in the pit.

When I became a single mom, financial pressures were great. Not only did I have the responsibilities of caring for an infant 24-7; I was also shouldering the financial responsibilities of our household alone. Each month after my husband moved out, I worked hard at walking in total obedience to the Lord, who had told me to get up out of my mess and do what I’d been called to do. I was willing to obey, but what about all my financial responsibilities?

As I was seeking to walk in obedience to my heavenly Father, I would say, “Okay, God, I know it’s Your will for me to pay my bills and to pay them on time.” In my mind, though, I doubted, and I’d brainstorm about backup plans. I’d think, If I can’t pay my bills this month, I’m going to get a secular job.

Every month when my mortgage was due, I’d threaten God and say, “Okay, God, if this is Your will for me—to keep doing what I’m called to do—then, all right. But if I can’t pay my mortgage this month, I’m going to work at Wal-Mart.” Yet, every month, the Lord came through.

I had to choose daily to allow this faith walk to be exciting and not overwhelming. Needless to say, I never went to work at Wal-Mart.

When we are in the midst of financial hardship, we have to be careful not to get angry and upset with those around us whom we think should be helping us. This is true for all of us—single moms, single dads, married couples, business people, and those in ministry alike. We should always look to the Lord for our provision and not rely on the “arm of the flesh.” (2 Chron. 32:8)

One day, while staring at my file cabinet and considering all of the bills bulging out of the folder marked “Due,” I began to get angry. I thought, My dad could write one check and pay every bill I have. He wouldn’t even miss it! This would be a small amount for him. Anger and resentment began to mount in my heart.

Then, the Lord said, “It’s not your dad’s responsibility to pay your bills now that you are grown. But I’m your heavenly Father, and I can write one check and pay every bill you have. And I definitely wouldn’t miss it, because I own it all.”

I realized that God not only could pay my bills but also would—if I’d just trust Him. God has a way of getting right to the point with a word of truth. The Lord taught me that everything I have comes from Him. Every dollar, every food item, every piece of clothing—everything comes from Him. He also taught me to ask Him what He wanted me to do with every dollar that came into my hand.”  From Danette Crawford

We’re going to be taking a good look at Psalms 40 this Sunday. It’s a time when David was in the pits. My prayer is that you will make your times in the pit temporary seasons. Maybe you are in a financial pit, an emotional pit, a health pit, a relational pit, or even a spiritual pit. I want you to be determined never to quit in the pit, but always to grab hold of the rope of hope—God’s Word—and make your way to the palace.  I can’t wait to see you this Sunday!

Pastor D

Pastor Dave McGarrah