I have been mediating on Ps. 40 and 69 as I have reflected on my spiritual journey this last half year. “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” (Ps. 40:1-2). The Message reads, “He stood me up on a solid rock to make sure I wouldn’t slip’. In Psalm 69, the Psalmist talks about the waters coming up to his neck as he laments, “I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold, I have come into deep waters; the floods engulf me” (Ps 69:2).
None of us choose to get into the pit. But it will happen to each of us from time to time. Usually it happens when we are confronted with a life situation that is difficult. You will know that you are in the pit, when you can say in the words of Ps 69:2 – the Message, “Quicksand under me, swamp water over me; I’m going down for the third time.” It is not a good feeling. I know, I have been there recently. So what can I briefly share with men that will help them when they are “in over their heads” with no foothold, experiencing that sinking sensation.
Here are some of my thoughts. First, don’t be the “brave solider” in denying your condition. Men, we have to live with reality and not the illusion that this can’t happen to me. God can only come along side a real life situation, not an illusion created by self-denial. Do as the Psalmst; admit that you are slipping (Ps.94:18). But don’t start to beat yourself up. This can lead to self pity. Yes, your weakness caused you to slip. But God’s grace is available in our weakness. His “power is made perfect in weakness” (II Cor 12:9), not in our strength.
Secondly, in your situation, “wait patiently for the Lord.” This is not always easy. In waiting you need to turn the eyes of your heart to the Lord. For how long? That is up to God. How He delights in the fact that you are crying out to him from your pit. Cry out for mercy and grace. Be real. It helps when you have someone else praying with you ( I have my dear wife). Tell him how you really feel. Above all believe that he loves you and will help you.
Thirdly, remember it is the Lord that will lift you up. By faith you need to believe that your heavenly Father is going to reach down and pull you out. No one can believe for you. It might be humbling to admit your lack of faith. It sure has been for me. This is unbelief. So confession is good for the soul. Tell God you are going to hang on with the faith you have and wait for him to give you, “a firm place to stand.” It is worth the wait. You will be stronger, having been now prepared for next leg of the journey.