Many of us dream of the day that we get out of the pit. We think we have been there long enough. The pit that Joseph found himself in was without any “water”. It was bone dry. Is that not the problem with pits? Has it not been a long time since you felt the refreshing breeze of hope? I suppose if these pits had even the least bit of refreshment, some of us would just settle down and take up residence. I know many of God’s children who have done just that.
How about you? Are you comfortable in your pit?
You might say, “Yes, Brother Rogers, I see one of those guys every time I look in the mirror.” Let us remember that the “pit has a purpose”. When that purpose is fulfilled, we can expect to get out of the pit. I wish I could say at this point that after we get out of the pit everything will begin to change. Dear one, that is not the pattern of the Scriptures. No, when Joseph was taken out of his pit, he immediately faced another looming set of circumstances.
The pit teaches us how to deal with the “physical circumstances” that hinder us from fulfilling our assignment and purpose, but the “pain” teaches us how to deal with people. We will find that people will hurt us far more than physical circumstances.
In many ways, the pit that Joseph found himself in was a pit of “physical circumstances”. I have found that this is true of us as well. We are probably not in a literal pit, dug out of the earth that is too deep for us to climb out of on our own, but nevertheless, we find ourselves in some kind of hole. Perhaps it is financial, or one that is from physical challenges, lack of education, or perhaps it is a geographic one. Let’s take a look at the words of the Apostle James once again.
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.
We must never lose sight of the fact that the “pit has a purpose”. That purpose is to teach us to abide in “calm delight”, knowing that no physical circumstance can stop us from fulfilling what God has called us to do and to be. James agrees with us that the “pit has a purpose”. He says that we are to count it all joy when we fall into the pit of various trials! We have learned that this word “joy” in the Greek means, “Calm delight.” The pit is to teach us how to deal with the impossible and stay filled with calm delight.
It is our season in the pit where we learn to trust God’s Word above our circumstances. It is here that we begin to learn the covenant promises that will carry us through the rest of our journey. Remember the Word that says:
Romans 8:27, 28
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
The Word must become real to us while we are in the pit. Even though we discover that we can never get out on our own, the truth that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” must live in our hearts in this place of impossibility. It is here that we defeat the depression, discouragement, and hopelessness of our physical circumstances.
Yes, but what if I am in the pit because of my own stupidity? God is bigger than your lapse of wisdom. What if I am here because of the country in which I was born? God designed the nations, and He brought the children of Israel out of cruel bondage in Egypt.
One of the great dangers I have seen among the children of God has to do with how God uses people. Sometimes we find that the Lord uses people to bless us, and we subtly fall into the trap of thinking that if only some person would notice us and help us, all would be well. We then look for ways to manipulate hoping that person will aid us. Dear one, there is a vast difference between God using someone and you and I “using” someone through manipulation. We may find someone to bless us a little while we are in the pit, but they will never get us out as long as we are “using them.” Part of the lesson we must learn in the pit is that God and only God alone can help us.
I found myself in a pit at the first church I pastored in Wisconsin. My wife and I were literally building the church with our own hands. On a cold November day the block for the basement was finally in. I needed to put water sealant on the outside walls that were dug down about seven feet into the ground. The water sealant was an old black mastic, and I was using a crude brush to apply it. It was cold, messy, and tiring work, and I was alone! My foot slipped off the board I was standing on and sunk into the icy water filling my boot with numbing cold. I fell against the black tar and then against the dirt wall and, to my surprise, found myself crying.
I was cold and tired and now had black mastic all over my hands, coat, and trousers, but I soon realized that that was not what the tears were all about. The truth was that I was lonely. I was alone. I was trying to do this work by myself. I was in a true pit, and no one could see me as I labored there. I did not know it at the time, but God was teaching me how “to value” his sons and daughters. I cried out to the Lord there on that day saying, “Oh, God, please give me just one faithful man to labor with me, just one. I promise that if You do, I will never take him for granted or misuse his loyalty.”
After a time of weeping, I picked up my brush and went back to work, but something had changed. I had passed a test, and God had put into motion the next plan for my life. It included not one faithful man, but a whole army of Godly men and women who would come along side, and we would labor together for the kingdom.
It is now thirty-six years since that day. At the time of this writing, I will soon be taking a blessed team of workers whom God has given to help with these writings to a lovely restaurant. I will have the joy of paying for their meals and saying thank you for all you are doing. We will gather and rejoice and plan together how we will get God’s Word out to the nations. I will be able to trace the forming of this beautiful team back to that day when I was in the pit thirty-six years ago and made a covenant with God. Dear one, God keeps His covenants, and when we are ready to pass the test, He will bring us out of the pit.
Thus says the Lord:
“Cursed is the man who trusts in man and makes flesh his strength, whose heart departs from the LORD. For he shall be like a shrub in the desert, and shall not see when good comes, but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land which is not inhabited. Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, and whose hope is the LORD”.
I am being constrained of the Lord to take this a little further. Someone is reading this and you have shifted your trust in God to some imagined person. Your words are something like this, “If only so-and-so would help me; if they would only help me or promote me, things would change, and all would be well.” Dear one, my heart goes out to you today. As long as you and I hold to that kind of thinking, we will remain in the pit.
I remember the Lord saying to me one time, “I will not allow any of your connections in high places to help you. I have placed you here in this situation and no one but Myself can get you out.” You see, like Joseph, I was placed in the pit to learn some powerful lessons of faith. When I learned them, I came out of the pit of problems, and, after a season of blessing, was taken into another season of great pain. But that is for another chapter.
MORE TO COME………
Apostle Robert Rogers