3 Keys to Getting Out of the Pit

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woman reaching for Jesus

Life can be excruciating. Crushing, in fact. The sheer magnitude of our worries can press down on our heads until we unknowingly descend into a pit of despair one inch at a time. Something so horrible can happen that we conclude we'll never be okay again.

But if we're willing to let truth speak louder than our feelings, and long enough that our feelings finally agree, we can be far more than okay. We can be delivered. The Bible teaches that there are no lost causes. There are no permanent pit-dwellers except those who refuse to leave.

Have you wanted to get out of a pit? And out of the cycle that draws you back into it?

You can opt for God. Pitching every other plan, every other deliverer, you can opt for God. Not just for His help, but also for His entire person! The whole of God. You can opt for the Father who reigns as King over every intricate detail in the universe and can micromanage a complicated life like yours and mine. He could halt the sun in the noon sky if that's what your victory would take.

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You can opt for the Son who paid your debt in full, not just to deliver you from Earth to heaven when you die, but also from pit to pavement while you live. In Him, you have the full rights of sonship or daughtership, including the right to live wildly in victory.

You can opt for the Holy Spirit who first hovered over the Genesis waters and brought order out of chaos. The One who enables a people bereft of holiness to be holy by His very presence within them.

The beautiful thing about opting for God is that you are opting for everything He brings. Because He is infinite, you will never reach the end of all He offers of Himself.

Here's the deal: God wants everything you've got. God will be your complete deliverer or nothing at all. That's the one rule of divine rescue. He may use any number of people in your life to come alongside and encourage as part of His process. But He alone must deliver you ... or you will never be free.

Every one of us who authentically calls Jesus Lord has the right and power to be victorious. But we need lasting answers that don't just target our behaviors. We need answers that tap the power of heaven and change the thoughts and feelings that drive those behaviors.

I believe the Bible proposes three steps to get out of the pit, and each one of these involves your mouth. Repeat these steps over and over. If you let them, they will be life to you.

1. Cry Out 

The process begins with a very specific action described in Psalm 40:1-2: "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 the mire; He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand" (NIV).

In this passage, the pit-dweller's deliverance began with a cry. I'm not talking about tears. Weeping may accompany this cry; but tears alone mean little. We can cry our eyes out over the pain of our situation and still refuse to change.

If you're like me, sometimes you want Him to bend the rules for you and bless your disobedience or half-heartedness. His refusal to bend to our will may at first seem uncompassionate in light of all we've endured, but He's pushing for the best thing that will ever happen to us.

This cry from the depths aims the petition straight to the throne of God. No random ear will do for this crier. He is aiming at the One who made all things, rules all things and can change all things. The One who says nothing is impossible.

You will be hard pressed to find a more repetitive concept in Scripture than God's intervention coming as a direct response to someone crying out (see Ps. 72:12; 106:44-45; 9:9, 12; 116:1-2; 3:4). But why does the process start with our cry if God knows what we need before we ask Him?

God is sovereign and has His own reasons for responding in the ways He does. But from what I can tell about Him, I think He usually waits for us to cry out so He can remove all doubt about who came to our rescue. If we never cried out, we'd likely chalk our deliverance up to circumstantial happenstance or saccharine philosophies such as "things have a way of working out, don't they?"

Things don't just work out. God works them out.

Further, God sees great advantage in awaiting our cry because He is unequivocally driven by relationship. God will forever be more interested in you knowing your deliverer than knowing your deliverance. The King of all creation wants to reveal Himself to you.

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