Do you ever feel like you’re stuck? Like you’re stuck in a season of life that you want out of but you can’t seem to get out of? Stuck having the details of something painful replay in your mind over and over, and you can’t seem to escape it? It’s as if your legs are stuck in thick mud or clay…you’re trying and trying to get free, but little progress seems to be happening? You’ve cried out to God over and over, asking for help…but you’re still stuck. Ever feel that way?
That is exactly how I’ve been feeling for a while now.
When I first lost my marriage and job a couple years ago, I was just focused on recovering and healing from the pain of being rejected by the person I had loved and chosen to spend my life with, as well as losing a job that I was passionate about and thoroughly enjoyed. For the first year, my focus was just on allowing myself to heal from it all. I wasn’t thinking about what the future held or how to move forward, I was just focusing on surviving a day at a time.
After a year or so of that, as God began to bring healing to my heart and mind, I began to think about the future and what it would look like for me. I started praying for more than continued grace and healing for both me and my children (who unfortunately also have to learn to live in this new reality), which is what my prayer life had been focused on up to that point. As I began to look forward to my future, I began to pray for that future; prayers for getting back into ministry, being able to be financial stable again, paying off debt that I’d accrued from the divorce, getting my confidence back (it’s amazing how rejection like this can take all confidence from you), being able to not have my mind be overrun at times with the pain of what happened, and so on.
But, after a long time praying for those things, most of them have still not happened. Yes, I’m back in ministry…God answered that prayer a couple of months ago! But I’m still stuck in debt, struggling with finances, working to get my confidence back, and honestly there are days my mind is still overrun with the painful memories. Recently, I was struggling so much with the pain of it all that I just decided to go to bed really early, so I could end the day and not think about things anymore.
I still feel very much stuck.
A few days ago, I decided to look up different verses/passages in scripture that talk about patience. I am definitely struggling with patience, but I also know I need to be patient as I wait for God to lead me into a future. If I continue to try and work out of things myself, struggling with all my might to get unstuck, I’m going to just exhaust myself.
Yesterday, I read Psalm 40:1-4
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie!
In this passage, a few truths stuck out to me that I needed to be reminded of…
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined and heard my cry.” – The Lord heard the author’s cry for help…but he didn’t respond immediately. The author of this psalm starts by saying they ‘waited patiently’.
When we are crying out to God and not getting the answer we want when we want, it is so easy to get impatient and feel as though God isn’t listening. God hears our cries…we just have to learn to wait patiently for God to respond. How long do we wait? Until he responds. His timing is perfect…we don’t like to wait and may not understand his timing, but it is perfect and we just need to continue to be patient.
“He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock.” – The author definitely felt stuck. They even give a pretty strong description…pit of destruction. That’s strong language to describe a very difficult and overwhelming feeling of being stuck. But, the author also says that God drew them out of that place of being overwhelmingly stuck, and set them on a rock…a place that is solid and secure.
When we are stuck, it’s so hard to see or even imagine not being stuck again. It can get so overwhelming that seeing a future that’s different than the present is so hard to do or believe will happen. But God is so much more powerful than even the most difficult of circumstances, and he can draw us out of any pit and place us on solid ground again. While we are in the pit and feeling overwhelmed, we just need to keep our focus on the truth that someday we won’t be stuck anymore, because God will draw us up and out.
“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God” – A new song implies that there was a song before this new one. Perhaps the author had been complaining a lot to God, or singing a “woe is me” type of song as they were stuck. But when God showed up and drew them out of the pit, he also put a new song in the mouth of the author…a song of praise.
It can sometimes be so hard to not complain when we are in the midst of being stuck, down in that pit we so desperately want out of. And if we aren’t careful, our complaining or “woe is me” attitude can overtake our heart and what comes out of our mouths. But when God draws us out of the pit, we see such a contrast from where we were to where God has put us, that we can’t help but praise him! Perhaps that’s part of the reason he waits to draw us out, so that we properly appreciate all that he does for us when he does draw us out.
“Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust” – The author realizes that, through their struggle and having to wait patiently on God to respond, it is the one who continues to trust in God even while in the midst of the struggle that will be blessed.
It is so easy to place our trust in man made ways of trying to fix our struggle or deal with our situation. There’s so many different voices in this world that say “do this” or “do that”, and honestly we begin to be tempted to follow after those ideas rather than wait on God…because we get impatient. Trust requires patience. Trust that God will eventually answer and draw us out, trust that God’s timing and plan is better than our ideas, and trust that God hasn’t abandoned us in the pit.
When we feel stuck, overwhelmingly stuck, and unable to see any way out, may we continue to wait patiently on God to respond at just the right time, knowing that his timing is perfect. May we remember to trust him, even when we are struggling so much that it takes all of our energy and strength to do so…because it is the one who trusts in the Lord that will be blessed.