Praise in the Pit

4929374625_cca549bba6_m Down in the dumps. Drowning in debt. Upside down on your mortgage, the depths of despair. Hitting rock bottom. Marriage on the rocks…

What do all these phrases have in common? They all describe situations that are down, below something else, away from goodness.  In the bible the Psalmist mentions a “pit” 19 times. The pit is described as a place of the deep, a darkness, a place prepared for you by your enemy. A horrible place that anyone who has ever been in one of the clichéd pits above can tell you is indeed deep, dark and horrible.

Any pit has a  top, an opening, and that is where the light is. There is only one way out of a pit and that is up. You must look up, you must look to the light. Looking down is easier but it gets you nothing but more darkness, more muck, more depression. Even if you cannot reach the light you must look to it, reach for it, strive to get there. But how? Again the Psalmist, who is very familiar with the pit gives us the answer:

“But thou are Holy, O Thou that inhabits the praises of Israel. Our fathers trusted Thee: they trusted and Thou did deliver them.” (Psalms 22:3) The deliver inhabits the praises of His people. Even in a pit, we must praise. We must not give to looking down, succumb to the temptation to have a pity party sitting in our muck. We must cry out and trust the One who delivers. If we are going to dig deeper we must dig for the faith to trust that God is there no matter how deep the pit. Keep praising and trust God for your deliverance is at hand!

He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.    Psalms 40:2

This post is an excerpt from “The Little Engine who could Not…” available on in Kindle and paperback.

The Courage to change the things I can…

1001031_10200231711850733_1457908686_nPriceless, made for me by my son.

I never realized how much courage it takes to change things. Courage to leave all that is familiar, even the chaos of alcoholism. Courage to grasp for your own recovery and refuse to let go. Courage to feel the fear of all of this and keep going anyway.

Where do we get courage? Is there an ATM where we can withdraw this firmness of mind, fortitude and endurance, this courage?

Yes, it is the Holy Bible containing the promise’s of God. God’s word contains over 366 commanding us to “fear not” in various forms. That means you get a verse a day, including leap year! What a great God have to provide this for us to quench the fiery dart shot at us from the enemy of our souls.

There are also very familiar verses instructing us to “be courageous” and these I love dearly for they also contain His promise and His presence. Brother’s and Sister’s, whatever you have to do to be free, whatever changes and challenges you face on your personal road to serenity, He is with you. What else do you need?

Be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you where ever you go.       Joshua 1:9 NIV

Total absence of Light

1936841_1115597565396_6704630_nThis adorable picture of my daughter was taken in 2008 at a trip to the Inner Space Cavern in Texas. We are not spelunkers or caving fans, but this was an interesting stop on our way to Spring Break in San Antonio and fit in perfectly with my son’s science unit for school. The two things that stay with me about this adventure are the “chicken nugget bats” that slept all over the walls of the cave and actually did look like little fuzzy chicken nuggets and the darkness. The utter darkness. Notice my daughter and the rock formation behind her are illuminated by my flash, but look around her. It’s pitch black.

Our tour started in broad daylight, the bright, blazing hot sun of Central Texas, and we got in a mine car train and rode down into the cave with a guide. Inside the cave there is lighting along the path but a point in the tour the guide has everyone stand together and turns off the lights so you can experience absolute darkness. It was horrifying. It seemed to wrap around me like a physical presence causing my stomach to flip and my heart to race. There was nothing to see, no shapes, no shadows, simply a  total void. I remember trying to take a deep breath to calm down. I didn’t want my kids to realize I was so frightened, but I felt I could not even breathe this black thick air.

After about 60 seconds of gasping and squealing from the tour group the  guide turns the lights back on. Sweet relief, breathe, let there be LIGHT! And handprints on now angry children whose mother had instinctively  clamped down on their arms in her own fear…

I had forgotten about this experience until the other day at a friend’s home. I noticed a copy of “Josephus’s Discourse to the Greeks” on his bookshelf. This book is one of hundreds on my reading bucket list and I pulled it down and started flipping through it. In his writing concerning Hades, known to us as hell, Josephus states: “Hades is a subterraneous region, wherein the light of the world does not shine, in this region the light does not shine, it cannot but there must be in it a perpetual darkness.”  He continues with further descriptions of this dark place, judgment to come and an interesting comparison of sin and sickness and how to recover from both.

The bible states that in the beginning God said, “Let there be Light.” and there was light, God saw that it was good and divided the light from the darkness. (Genesis 1:3&4) The differences between light and darkness continue throughout the Old Testament to the New; Job was brought out of his pit and enlightened with the “light of the living”. ( Job 33:3o) The Psalmist states in 119:105 that “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” Jesus himself declares in the Gospel of John that ” I AM the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

You may have never been “spelunking” but if you are experiencing darkness in your life, you too, can have the light of the world  with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. “God is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5. If you have any questions about how to invite the Light of the World into your life in a personal way, please feel free to leave a comment, or email me for further discussion.

The Lord is my Light and my salvation.   Psalms 27:1