I’ve previously shared about my struggle with depression and anxiety. Thankfully, God has brought me a long way from the days when I didn’t think I could get out of bed in the morning. Life seemed so hard and overwhelming. Many people go through a season when they’re needy and emotional. Once you have overcome that season, you may find yourself called to help someone else who is struggling. As Christians, we are called to help the hurting and the lost. Our deliverance and love for God motivates us to reach out and give them a hand up out of the darkness.
Several years ago, I read a book by Beth Moore, Get Out of That Pit! In it, she explained how we can find ourselves in a pit of despair, loneliness, addiction, disease and drama. When we’re in that pit, all can seem hopeless. After a while, the pit can seem like home. That’s when we need to get out of that pit!
How do you do that? My mom used to have a saying tacked up on her refrigerator that I’ve never forgotten. It said, “You leave the Valley of Despair by climbing the Mountain of Praise.” When you no longer focus on yourself, your feelings and your circumstances, and turn your eyes upon Jesus, you are able to climb out of the valley, the pit, the cave and the darkness.
If you’ve been in a pit, the walls are steep, the interior is dark, you have no access to the outside world, and you’re cut off. Once you accept the hand up from Jesus and get out of the pit, you have the whole world ahead of you. Yes, it’s a big place and might seem intimidating, but now you can breathe, brush off your knees, put your head up, and go!
In her book, Beth Moore talks about how comfortable we can become in our pit. In a strange way, it can become a safe place where we put in a lot of energy to make it that way. With humor, she points out that we often decorate our pit to make it palatable. We put up wallpaper and curtains, install a TV and a nice couch. Once in a while we even leave the pit, but then end up right back inside it because we’ve allowed ourselves to make it our home.
Our true home is with Jesus! He has prepared a place for us. Just as His disciple, Peter, trusted him and stepped out of the boat to walk on the water, we need to step out of our pit and keep our eyes on Jesus. Don’t look down. Don’t look at the storm or the wind and waves. Hang on to Jesus and He’ll deliver you.
Another example of how we stay in that place of pain is to compare the pit to a jail cell. A jail cell is a place of despair and confinement. When a prisoner is paroled, set free, and given a pardon, they can leave the jail cell. If you’re in jail and they open the door for you, you have a choice. You can stay in jail where you’ve created a comfortable, if not confined and painful, existence, or you can step through those doors into freedom. We all have that choice, and we all have the strength to move beyond where we’ve been.
In Isaiah 61:1-3, the Lord proclaims:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me,
for the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted
and to proclaim that captives will be released
and prisoners will be freed.
He has sent me to tell those who mourn
that the time of the Lord’s favor has come,
and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies.
To all who mourn in Israel,
he will give a crown of beauty for ashes,
a joyous blessing instead of mourning,
festive praise instead of despair.
In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks
that the Lord has planted for his own glory.”
In the Gospels, Jesus says that He has prepared a place for us to dwell with Him; not in a pit!
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am.” (John 14:3)
Don’t decorate your pit! If you’re in there, come out! Like Lazarus who was once dead, you will have eternal life with Jesus when you let Him lift you out of the Valley of Despair as you climb the Mountain of Praise. Amen!
Paula Aiton is a member of the Koinonia Church worship team and a freelance writer, musician and artist. Her blog, ‘God’s Glory Girl’, can be found at godsglorygirl.com