You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.
Friend to Friend
Have you ever received a gift that you wanted to return … but couldn’t? I certainly felt that way about the pit of depression the first time I experienced it. First of all, I did not see depression as a gift. Second, I wanted to take that nasty black hole to the nearest “Pit Store” and exchange it for a tall mountain of victory.
But I have finally come to the place where I thank God for what He has done in my life through my struggle with depression. I now realize that anything that makes me cry out to God can be counted as a blessing.
We all have a pit of some kind in our lives. Oh, your pit may not be depression. It may be an addiction you find impossible to conquer on your own. It may be a difficult relationship or a life plan gone wrong. Maybe a diagnosis of cancer or a chronic physical disease keeps you broken.
You may wonder if God is aware of or even cares about your pain.
He does. I know He does because I am what you might call a seasoned “pit dweller.” As a result, I want to share some of the truths I’ve learned along the way. They have literally changed my life. I hope they are helpful to you.
Pits are a certainty. Hard times will come. Darkness will find us. We will, at some point in our lives, find ourselves in a pit of some kind. It may be a pit that we have dug with our own hands through wrong choices and foolish decisions. It may be a customized sinkhole prepared for us by the enemy himself. But a pit is a pit. And all pits are basically the same – dark, lonely, and filled with ugliness and pain.
Pits have a purpose. Every pit comes to us for a reason. The darkness often comes to strengthen us. Our struggle to escape that darkness forces us to admit our insufficiency and search for power outside of our own. Pits have an amazing way of bringing balance to life: a balance between sorrow and joy, between darkness and light, between faith and doubt, between weakness and strength. A friend recently sent me the following note that reminded me of this powerful truth:
God found Gideon in a hole. He found Joseph in a prison. He found Daniel in a lion’s den. He has a curious habit of showing up in the midst of trouble, not the absence. Where the world sees failure, God sees future. Next time you feel unqualified to be used by God, remember this: He tends to recruit from the pit – not the pedestal.
Pits demand that we change our perspective. They make us stop and scrutinize priorities, eliminating the trivial and focusing on the important. We get into trouble when we give in to the demands of the urgent instead of taking the time to focus on what is really important. Pits give us new eyes and a heavenly focus.
Now here is some good news! You can get out of the pit. The most important lesson I learned while sitting at the bottom of the pit of clinical depression is to never give up hope. I made it out of the pit … and so can you!
The path may seem endless and even cruel at times, but you must be patient. You did not slip into that pit overnight, and you will not climb out of that pit overnight. The journey out of the pit begins and ends with one small step of faith. Walk straight ahead through your fear. And with each step, moment-by-moment, the darkness will slowly begin to lift.
Father, I come to You – helpless and alone. The darkness is overwhelming and no one seems to understand. I am desperate for You and the healing that I know can only be found in You. Lead me, Lord. Teach me, Father. Right now, I surrender to You and the plan You have for my life. By faith, I thank You for the pit in my life that makes me cry out to You.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Read Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV) “I waited patiently for the LORD; He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.”
- Record Psalm 40:1-3 in your journal. Circle each action word such as “waited.”
- What actions does God ask you to take to get out of your pit?
- What does God promise to do in your life when you take those actions?
- Are you ready to step out in faith and trust God to deliver you from the pit of darkness in your life?