I had intended to share with my Sunday School class a lesson on the pit. As I sat down to study for the lesson, many thoughts had already begun to take shape. But the further into the study I went, the more the Lord changed my way of thinking. He brought to mind things that I never would have dreamed of, and I'm so glad He did. I was so blessed by the time I finished studying that I couldn't wait until Sunday when I could share it with my ladies. Today, I would like to share just a portion of it with you as well.
I'm sure you've heard the phrase, "Life is the pits" or "This is the pits." When we look up a few of the definitions of the word "pit," we can understand how those phrases came to be. Let's look at a few:
1) a hole, shaft, or cavity in the ground -- In other words, a pit is a deep, dark place, surrounded by high walls and often filled with the stench of death, decay and stagnation. Well, that certainly describes how we feel from time to time, doesn't it? In a dark place. Surrounded by walls. Stagnant. Reeking of stinky attitudes. Hmm.
2) an area often sunken or depressed below the adjacent floor area -- I don't know about how well the definition as a whole resonates with life, but I can definitely relate to the words "sunken" and "depressed." How about you?
3) a place or situation of futility, misery, or degradation -- Wow, now we're really getting somewhere. How many times have we found ourselves in futile situations? How often have we been downright miserable with our circumstances? How degrading is it to be stuck in a stinky, slimy pit and have no idea how to get out? Life is the pits? Yeah, sometimes it sure seems that way.
But this, my dear friend, is where it gets really good. If that were the last definition of the word "pit," this entire lesson would be more depressing that it would be encouraging. But, alas, there is another definition. One that, even though I knew of it, did not even cross my mind until I read it in the dictionary. And then, I had a bit of a shouting spell. Are you ready for it? Okay, here goes:
4) any of the areas alongside an auto racecourse used for refueling and repairing the cars during a race -- Hallelujah!!! Doesn't the Bible say that we're in a race? (Hebrews 12:1-2) So often, we're inclined to think of the pit as a place of punishment or torture, but the fact is that sometimes God places us in the pit (or allows us to be placed in the pit) because He knows we need to be refueled and repaired.
Now, I don't know much about auto racing. To be honest, the mere thought of it puts me to sleep. But I do know enough about it to understand that the drivers don't enjoy the time in the pit. Why? Because they'd rather be racing. However, they know that the pit is a necessary part of the race. Refueling and repairing have to be done in order for the drivers to finish the course.
We are no different. We have a race to run, and we can't do that when we're falling apart and running on fumes. So God, in His great mercy, provides time in the pits. Time to refuel, refresh, and repair. Time to regain perspective. Time to refocus. It's not a punishment; it's a privilege.
Perhaps you're in a pit right now, glancing up at the high walls surrounding you and wondering if you'll ever again see the light of day. Perhaps you're questioning what you've done wrong and why you're being punished. Perhaps you're even angry at God for leaving you in such a desolate place. If so, take heart. You're actually in a good place. God is preparing you to finish the work He's called you to do. He has great plans for you, and this pit stop is just one way He's enabling you to finish the race.
Oh, and one more thing about the pit. Keep in mind that it is not a destination but rather a rest stop along the way. Joseph was raised from the pit. So was David. You will be too.
He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. - Psalm 40:2