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.
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.