He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps.
Have you experienced a great loss in your life? Perhaps you’ve lost a parent or, what is worse for most people, a child. Maybe your marriage has ended in divorce or you lost a job that you hoped would take you to retirement. If living means anything, it means that all of us will experience at least one great loss in our lives.
When we do, our grief can become almost overwhelming. In fact, like King David in writing Psalm 40, you might feel like you are stuck in a “pit of despair” (v. 2 NLT). In this pit, we find feelings of sorrow, anger, bitterness, anxiety, fear, and loathing. Too many of us allow ourselves to get stuck in that pit and, when we do, we become overwhelmed and lose hope. Sadly, this is when many people either self-medicate with alcohol, drugs, or illicit sex – some go as far as ending their life. And yet, the Pit of Despair does not need to be the end for those of us who call on the name of Jesus Christ.
In fact, Psalm 40 provides us with great guidance on how to receive healing. First, we need to realize that healing is a process. Psalm 40:1 says, “I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry” (ESV) (emphasis added). God hears us when we are in pain and He loves to heal us when we are hurting. But we must be patient with Him. While God can heal us instantly and miraculously, there are times when He will use our pain to grow us so that we can become greater forces in His Kingdom.
The second truth we learn from Psalm 40 is that healing comes when we make God a priority. Verse 4 says, “Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!” (ESV). While counselors, doctors, and friends can be a wonderful source of support, our ultimate source of healing is our Heavenly Father. Grief hurts so much because it touches our very soul. We need the Holy Spirit inside of us to remind us that, for God, nothing is impossible. Don’t reject the help of a good earthly counselor or doctor, but make sure to always receive our ultimate advisement from our Great Physician.
Finally, Psalm 40 teaches us that God will give us a new praise in the midst of our grief. Verse 3 says, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God…” (ESV). Part of the healing process is making peace with the fact that we can never go back. The loss of a loved one, for example, means that your story must now proceed without him or her in your life. This is why God gives you a new song. Suffering through a great loss will change our praise because we come to realize that God is great, not because He will undo the loss, but because He will give us the grace to continue living.
Have you experienced a great loss in your life? Do you feel like you are stuck in the Pit of Despair? Ask yourself the following questions:
- Have I made God my priority in this season of my life? Have I gone to Him in prayer and read His Word so much that I am saturated with His truth?
- Have I given God enough time to heal me? Have I waited on Him while I have sought counseling or wise advice from people who know Him?
- Am I open to the truth that God wants to give me a new song of praise or am I being insistent that He give me back my old song?
Remember that God gave up is only begotten Son so you and I could return to Him and have eternal life. He knows grief and can help you with your pain.
Published on Jan 06 @ 3:13 AM EDT
Truly I heard the Spirit speak to me through this passage ~ thank you
Posted on Wed, Jan 6, 2021 @ 5:41 AM CST
Thank you for this timely message! I have such a challenging year starting with one of my daughters passing, my only other daughter receiving a kidney, followed by a car accident and many other challenges too numerous to share. But also finding that I was not that strong individual and succumbed to illness. Doing better today but your message is exactly what I needed this morning. Praise God for you
Posted on Wed, Jan 6, 2021 @ 7:51 AM CST
Thank you so much for this devotion. Grief will hold you captive. My mother died a tragic death. I was so angry with the Lord, and I told him that I would not praise him until he told me why he took my Mom. This lasted a year. On the very day a year later I receive my response in a dream. The Lord told me that he loved my Mom and it was time for her to come home. He said that I am now Your Mom, Your Comfort, your strength and your Peace. Rest have faith in me that I will always do what is best for you and will never leave you or forsake you. The Lord kept me during that time!!! HALLELUJAH!!!!!! I'm now 67 and have never turned away from him since !!!!
Posted on Wed, Jan 6, 2021 @ 7:51 AM CST
Author: L.B. Cowman
“Be still and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth.”
When we have doubts or are facing difficulties, when others suggest courses of action that are conflicting, when caution dictates one approach but faith another, we should be still. We should quiet each intruding person, calm ourselves in the sacred stillness of God’s presence, study His Word for guidance, and with true devotion focus our attention on Him.
We should lift our nature into the pure light radiating from His face, having an eagerness to know only what God our Lord will determine for us. Soon God will reveal, by His secret counsel, a distinct and unmistakable sense of His direction. It is unwise for a new believer to depend on this approach alone. He should wait for circumstances to also confirm what God is revealing. Yet Christians who have had many experiences in their walk with Him know the great value of the secret counsel of the Lord as a means of discerning His will.
Are you uncertain about which direction you should go? Take your question to God and receive guidance from either the light of His smile or the cloud of His refusal. You must get alone with Him, where the lights and the darkness of this world cannot interfere and where the opinions of others cannot reach you. You must also have the courage to wait in silent expectation, even when everyone around you is insisting on an immediate decision or action. If you will do these things, the will of God will become clear to you. And you will have a deeper concept of who He is, having more insight into His nature and His heart of love. All this will be your unsurpassed gift. It will be a heavenly experience, a precious eternal privilege, and the rich reward for the long hours of waiting. DAVID
Keep still! When trouble is brewing, keep still! When slander is getting on its legs, keep still! When your feelings are hurt, keep still till you recover from your excitement at any rate! Things look different through an unagitated eye. In a commotion once I wrote a letter and sent it and wished I had not. In my later years I had another commotion and wrote another long letter; my life had rubbed a little sense into me, and I kept that letter in my pocket until I could look it over without agitation, and without tears, and I was glad I did—less and less it seemed necessary to send it. I was not sure it would do any harm, but in my doubtfulness, I learned reticence, and eventually it was destroyed. Time works wonders!
Wait till you can speak calmly and then perhaps you will not need to speak. Silence is the most powerful thing conceivable, sometimes. It is strength in its grandeur; it is like a regiment ordered to stand still in the mad fury of battle. To plunge in were twice as easy. Nothing is lost by learning to keep still. HANNAH WHITALL SMITH
I do not believe we have even begun to understand the wonderful power there is in being still. We are in such a hurry, always doing, that we are in danger of not allowing God the opportunity to work. You may be sure that God will never say to us, “Stand still,” “Sit still,” or “Be still,” unless He is going to do something. This is our problem regarding the Christian life: we want to do something to be Christians, instead of allowing Him to work in us. Think of how still you stand when your picture is being taken, as the photographer captures your likeness on film. God has one eternal purpose for us: that we should be “conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29 KJV). But in order for that to happen, we must stand still. We hear so much today about being active, but maybe we need to learn what it means to be quiet. Perhaps we simply need to learn to be still and watch God work out the details that challenged us so greatly and caused us so much distress. You will find that He works wonders if we can just still our hearts and sit before Him until He speaks.
Oh Lord, You know my heart better than I know it myself. You know my struggles and You hold each hope and fear in Your caring hands. Teach me, LORD, to be still and to know that You are God. I trust in You alone. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.
An excerpt from the book: "Streams in the Desert: Morning and Evening"
Published on Jan 31 @ 12:46 AM EDT