When Life’s the Pits

Humble yourself, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 1 Peter 5:6 (NIV).

Is your life at a low ebb? Does everything look glum and gloomy? Were things going along well but recently came crashing down? Is nothing in your life going right? Does it seem like there’s no way out from your problems?

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Into each life some rain must fall, some days be dark and dreary.” Whether we like it or not all of us go through times when life’s the pits – when the wine runs out, when the joy and exhilaration are gone.

If you’re in a pit there are three questions you should ask:

  1. Who put me in the pit? There are four possibilities. You put yourself in the pit, someone else put you in the pit, some pits are just a fact of life, or God put you in the pit. Let’s consider each one.

You put yourself in the pit. Proverbs 26:27 says, “If a man digs a pit he will fall into it” (NIV). Before you look anywhere else you must look at yourself. In most cases we get ourselves into the pit, or are at least partly responsible. So don’t be quick to blame your problems on others. If you’ve messed up you must take responsibility. For you’ll only get out of the pit when you confess your part in getting into the pit.

Someone else put you in the pit. In Joseph’s case his brothers put him in the pit (cf. Genesis 37:34). You may be in a pit and it’s not your doing. It not only happened to Joseph. It also happened to David. In Psalm 57:6 David says, “My enemies have set a trap for me. I am weary from distress. They have dug a deep pit in my path” (NLT). Now you may think it’s not fair to be in the pit because of someone else. Too bad! Even when someone else puts you in the pit the only way you’ll get out of the pit is by taking responsibility for the fact that you’re there. You need to take a long hard look at yourself, identify the issues in your heart, and cry out to God for help.

Some pits are just a fact of life. John 16:33 says, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows” (NLT). Because of sin, this world is full of trouble. Pits are by-products of a fallen world. As long as you’re on this earth you will go through difficult and challenging times. That’s life. Get used to it. You can’t live on a hilltop all the time.

God put you in the pit. Psalm 88:6 says, “You have thrust me down to the lowest pit, into the darkest depths” (NLT). Sometimes the only way God can get our attention is to put us in the pit. Because of our pigheadedness some of us only look up when we’ve hit rock bottom. Jonah’s story is a good example. God told him to go and preach to the Ninevites. But Jonah basically refused. The result – he ended up in a maritime pit – in the belly of a great fish.

  1. What’s the purpose of the pit? To get us to cry out to God. The purpose of the pit is to get us in a place that’s so far down that we can’t get out of it ourselves, have to give up control of our lives, and learn to trust God.

Here’s a key point. As long as you’re griping, complaining, murmuring, whinging or blaming, you’ll never get out of the pit. Now I don’t want to sound insensitive, but if bad stuff happened to you, it’s time to move on. Even if the sins of others have put you in the pit, blaming them doesn’t help you. Don’t adopt a victim mentality. Get over it. I can’t stress this enough. As long as you’re blaming others for your problems you’ll never get out of the pit.

  1. Who will pull me out of the pit? 1 Peter 5:6 says, “Humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and in his good time he will honour you” (NLT). The good news is that it’s not hard for God to get you out of a pit. God’s big enough and strong enough to get you out of any pit. It doesn’t matter how deep or dark the pit is, God can get you out. Jeremiah 32:17 says, “O Sovereign Lord! You have made the heavens and earth by your great power. Nothing is too hard for you!” (NLT).

God’s in the deliverance business. Pits aren’t a problem for God. Even if you’re in three or four pits He can pull you out. Are you in a pit because your finances are in a mess, because of interpersonal conflict, because of circumstances, or because of sin? God can pull you out. Trust in Him and He will lift you up.

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