I waited patiently for the Lord.
He turned to me and heard my cry for help.
He pulled me out of a horrible pit,
out of the mud and clay. (Psalm 40:1-2 GWT)
Jesus wept for the people of his time. He described them as sheep without a shepherd. (Matthew 9:36) Nehemiah also wept when he got news from the survivors of the captivity of Jerusalem. (Nehemiah 1:4) The news he heard tore him apart. Messengers came telling him: “The survivors who are left from the captivity in the province are there in great distress and reproach. The wall of Jerusalem is also broken down, and its gates are burned with fire.”
Bad news. Sometimes it comes at us from all directions. Newspapers, TV, and the Internet carry the bad news from around the world and bury it in the very depths of our psyche. Sometimes the bad news comes from friends, family, and loved ones near and far away. We pray. We weep. We hope. We trust. We try to leave it at the Lord’s feet, but often we take it back and try to carry the burden ourselves.
Many of our daily worries are inconsequential. I might worry about catching up on my housework, a new recipe I’m trying for a covered dish supper. I may worry over deadlines I have to meet, and people I want to please, and I might even worry about something that may or may not happen in the future. I know better, but I still fall into the pit of worry.
There is a phrase in Isaiah 24:18, which describes the progression from fear, to anxiety, and from anxiety to despair. It says: “he who flees from the noise of fear shall fall into the pit…”
The noise of fear drowns out my joy. Then, worry sets in compelling me to flee, and in fleeing, I stumble and fall into a pit of anguish and despair. When I am there, I know it because the Lord is good to send me physical manifestations of my condition: a fluttering stomach, a rapid heartbeat, headaches…
That’s when I realize, as the psalmist did, that I must wait “patiently” for the Lord. Once I look up from where I am to where God is and realize he is more capable than I, I cry out to Him, I lift my hand, and then he pulls me out.
Dearest Heavenly Father,
You are our deliverer. Deliver us from the sin of worry. Remind us daily to rest in you, to cast all our cares upon You, who are powerful and able to do what we cannot. Thank you for rescuing us when fear drives us into the pit of anguish and despair. Restore us to the joy we have in You, our Father, Lord and Savior.
In the name of Jesus, in whom we remain confident and joyful till He comes again,