Getting Out of the Pit & Standing on a Solid Rock

Hi, friends. I (semi) recently gave a sermon about Psalm 40. While the whole Psalm is rich with meaning, I want to share some meditations on a particular line in the Psalm because its symbolic imagery is relevant and exquisite.

In verse 2, he says that God took him out of a miry pit and set him on a solid rock. So many hymns have been written about the rock (Rock of Ages, Standing on the Solid Rock, My Hope Is Built), but the symbol of the pit is also essential.

Stuck in a Pit

Many of us are familiar with the phrase, “This is the pits!

I associate a pit (metaphorically) with a negative mindset or a pity party. In the same way a person could literally be trapped in a real pit, people get “stuck” in un-joyful thought patterns. Here are a few examples–

  • I do so much around here, and no one appreciates me. Everyone around here is lazy except me.
  • Life is busy and monotonous. I hate this. What’s the point in any of it?
  • I have to deal with this health/life/family issue that no one should have to go through. Why me? It’s so unfair.
  • I want all these things I can’t have, while Susie’s posting cruise pics on Facebook. I deserve so much more!

I’m sure one could come up with endless kinds of pity parties. As a wheelchair user, I have lots of them from the general (Why me?) to the specific (I wish I could just hop out of my car and run into a store without a second thought, but no, everything is an ordeal for me.)

Set on a Solid Rock

When we trust God and relinquish our lives to Him, He yanks us out of the pit and sets us on a solid rock. Even the most faithful believers slip from the rock and fall down in a pit, but the Lord is just a prayer away. After going back and forth between a pit and the rock a few times, I have discovered two truths–

God is always with us. Some days, un-joyful thought patterns cycle through my head relentlessly, and other days, I throw epic, sob-til-my-face-is-swollen pity parties. God seems distant in those times, but I’m the one building walls around my broken heart and pushing Him away. I need to deliberately turn to God in prayer during those times. Listening to some uplifting Christian music also calms me down, reminding me who and whose I am.

My perspective changes when I come out of the pit. In the pit, I can’t see anything, so I focus on my own problems. When I come out of the pit, I see a wide world around me with problems worse than my own, a wide world that needs gritty grace from followers of the Way. When I’m set on a rock, I look up and see a purpose to life that’s so much grander than whatever petty issues bother me.

Conclusion

Sometimes, Satan pushes us into a pit; other times, we knowingly, bitterly walk down into our old, familiar pits. Let’s turn to God for grace in those times to set us back on the rock!

Thanks for reading! Are you willing to be vulnerable and share some of your old, familiar pits? Let us know in the comments.

25 comments

  1. Loved the original sermon as well as this reflection. ( I still remember the stepping stones and the square of mud from the Children’s sermon, which demonstrated this scripture so well.) You are so right though, sometimes we just walk right into our old pits…. maybe out of frustration or maybe for 1/2 a second we like the familiarity of it. But seeking Grace is a much better option. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The children’s sermon was great that day. You make a good point that we actually like the familiarity of our pit, though we think we hate it! Uh-oh, this is starting to remind me of the box concept we are studying. πŸ™‚

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  2. My pit has always been my past. Past mistakes, past hurts from others, and a lot of “what if” and “coulda/shoulda/woulda” type thinking.

    These are all very circular thought patterns amplified by my anxiety. Medication helps me stay out of the pit. Therapy has helped me tremendously to work through the things that sent me spiraling toward that ravine in my mind.

    I’m proud of how far I’ve come, but some scars and habit run deep, and just when I least expect it, I can go back down that “rabbit hole” a lot quicker than I’d like to admit.

    Prayer and meditation are definitely one of the best ways to center when I find myself struggling. And I have always appreciated knowing that, in those moments, I didn’t even have to speak. Those groanings in my spirit would be sufficient and would be heard. I’ve counted on that promise a lot in my life and have never been disappointed.

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    1. Yes, the past can be so haunting, especially when recurring thoughts of coulda/woulda/shoulda replay in your head. I think I have a harder time letting go of things in my past that Jesus does, ha! I’m glad that you have found a combo of real medicine and spiritual medicine that helps you manage your pits. πŸ™‚ I love that verse, too. I sometimes can’t quite articulate what to pray about a certain situation, and in those moments, I’ll just envision the situation and let my “groanings” do the talking.

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  3. Thanks for this encouraging message! It’s easy to get in a downwards spiral and once it gets going it’s so hard to turn it around and start going up again. Getting out of these thought patterns is so hard. Yesterday I found myself in one of those pits, thinking β€œWhy can everyone else seem to afford everything and I’m over here just trying to save up enough for food, dentist appointments and clothing for my family. But then I suddenly got the feeling that I was actually hindering myself from enjoying those very things that others were sharing with me! I don’t need to own a quad or a boat or a cabin when I have such wonderful people around me who freely offer to share. It totally opened my eyes that sometimes God allows certain people wealth in possessions, while other people have wealth in friendships. And if I had to chose one over the other I would definitely choose my friends πŸ˜ƒ

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    1. So glad you dropped by, Heather, and thanks for sharing that! I’m sure it is tough to remain joyful in the face of financial tension. But you are so right that we can have “wealth” in different areas of life, and it is probably true that your life, especially your family life, is rich in ways that many only wish they knew. πŸ™‚

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    1. Thank you, Meredith! As social creatures, we do have this longing for others’ approval, but you’re right that we should focus on what God thinks. Instead of wondering if people think I’m a Jesus Freak, I should ask whether God would want me to be a Jesus Freak! πŸ˜‰

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  4. I hope you don’t mind me veering a little here in my response. But, I ate what was supposed to be a ‘pitted’ prune the other day and bit down onto a large, and sharp, piece of the hard pit that hadn’t been removed–ouch. So even though I know the Bible means ‘deep hole’, when it references being in a pit — the hard pit that is found in the middle of a ‘stone fruit’ was on my mind as I read this.

    I have lots of physical things that I can get down about, and do. But, I’d have to say that the pits that give the most grief to me are the broken relationships. I live with the knowledge that I have several unreconciled relationships which I desire to have made whole again–but for my own safety, I need to remain distant until repentance occurs.

    As a result, I can become overly cautious, and afraid, of ‘biting into’ the fruit–the new relationships God wants to give me in this lifetime within the body of Christ. Because — what if the pit is still inside of that fruit–and I break a tooth or cut my tongue or choke on it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, that is a fantastic analogy, Salt! You should really write a post about that! Sounds like a potential sermon for me, hehe.

      I can see how your broken relationships from the past would affect how you approach new relationships. But the very fact that you would be willing to possibly reconcile past relationships if there were repentance just goes to show how the grace of God has and is working in you. πŸ™‚

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  5. Beautiful. I find myself in the pit with finances and β€œstatus” when I feel like I should be so much further in life. I am a teacher, but my friends are entrepreneurs or doctors or lawyers. I’m still struggling to have extra money to do more fun things like movies and shopping, and I feel like I’m stuck in a cycle that I’ve been trying to pray my way out of. Yet, sometimes the β€œpit” is me allowing Satan to give me a β€œpoor me” mentality. Gratefulness goes so far in these circumstances because I am indeed quite blessed. Thank you for this!

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  6. My pit is that I whine, regret, or feel shame over my past…Definitely need to stand on the Solid Rock! Blogging definitely helps, because I post about anything and everything to help me process thoughts and hopefully to help others as well!

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