Monday, September 8, 2014

Getting out of the pits ................. Parables 167

Do you ever find yourself “in the pits”? You know, it’s related to being down in the dumps, that miserable condition when it seems as if God is gone, no one cares, and everything is going wrong.

Last week some ladies and I talked about getting out of the pits. One of the Psalms says God takes our feet out of the miry clay and sets us on solid ground but we agreed that our feet don’t always cooperate. Sometimes we drag our heels and are not exactly easy to pull from our pits. When I am feeling blue, when it seems everyone in the world has stopped praying, when the pits are so deep there is no light at all in any direction, the things that help me the most are very basic. If I can just grab hold of some simple truth, through it God begins to grab hold of me. Soon He is able to pull me out.

So here is a simple formula for getting out of the pits. It is in the form of an acrostic which makes it easier to remember -- (because when you are down, memory is one of the first things to fail)...

P - stands for PRAISE. Seems so easy, but remember, in the pits God seems absent. It is difficult to praise “nothing.” However, Hebrews 13 says He never really leaves or forsakes me. It is just the -sense- of His presence that can sometimes be lost. Since Psalm 22:3 says the Lord inhabits the praises of His people, praise will restore it. I begin with the alphabet. A is for almighty God; B is for His benevolence; C is that He created me; D, He is my defender; E reminds me He is eternal; F that I can call Him Father; G that He is good; and so on through to Z, He is zealous for me. By then, there is light above the pits.

I - stands for INTERCESSION. That means speaking on behalf of others. When I am in the pits, I am usually so focused on myself and my problems that I forget there is a world of needy people out there, most with far greater needs than mine. Besides, many of them are unable or unwilling to talk to God themselves. However, I can intercede. So I begin simply to tell God about the troubles of those around me. I ask Him to have mercy on them and give them His peace. I ask Him to enable them to see light too, so they will look up to Him and seek His face.

T - stands for two words, THINK AND THANK. There is one thought that guarantees a step up out of the pits. It is this: God has not given me what I deserve or rewarded me according to my sins. If He did that, my lot would be far worse. In fact, I would not draw another breath. Instead, He has shown mercy and offered me the gift of eternal life -- putting the punishment I deserved on His Son. That thought always brings thanks to my heart: thanks for Jesus Christ who died for me so my sins could be forgiven; thanks for His powerful life that conquered sin and death; thanks that Life now resides in me. Because of His life, I also can conquer sin and will one day overcome death and live forever with Him. Thanks opens the window of heaven and lets the Sonshine beam into my pits - a beam upon which I can climb up and out.

S - stands for SING. If all else fails, this one never does. Amazing -- because my voice would sour milk. But God doesn’t seem to mind. He says “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord.” And when I start to sing, not the usual hit tunes but music based on His Word, joy floods my soul and the pits are far beneath me.

After we ladies talked through the P I T S, we joined hands and actually praised, interceded, and gave thanks. By the time we concluded in song, any discouragement had left. God set our feet back on solid ground.

Next time the blues hit, the pity-party starts, or whatever puts any of us in the pits, God will remind us of this simple formula, I’m sure, and use P I T S to lift us out of the pits!

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