“I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, 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.” (Psalm 40:1 – 3)
A psalm of overcoming. But also a psalm of hope, that this would happen. I have been in the pit of desolation, and have cried. And cried out to the Lord. I know I have been heard, because the Lord always hears. And I know I will be lifted out, because the Lord comes to those who call on the Divine. Furthermore, I know that no matter how often I (or anyone else) calls out to the Lord, the Lord will come and minister to us. I know all of these things! But when I am in that pit, it is hard to wait patiently.
“Happy are those who make the LORD their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after false gods.” (Verse 4)
I am not sure I am to “happy” yet. I have been there before, and hope and have faith I will be there again. But right now, being patient takes all of my being.
“You have multiplied, O LORD my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you. Were I to proclaim and tell of them, they would be more than can be counted. Sacrifice and offering you do not desire, but you have given me an open ear. Burnt offering and sin offering you have not required.” (Verses 5 – 6)
I remember, as I read these verses, 12 years ago I put these verses in my heart as I graduated from seminary. It was a long road culminating in a feeling of accomplishment and peace. I thought I had overcome so much, and now was ready to stride forth with confidence and the Lord’s plan for me laid out before me.
But there were corners, changes, disappointments, and heartaches I had no idea of. And desolate pits too numerous to count. But as I said, with each pit I found myself the Lord lifted me out and set me on firm ground.
I have never regret saying . . .
“Then I said, “Here I am; in the scroll of the book it is written of me. I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation; see, I have not restrained my lips, as you know, O LORD. I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.” (Verses 7 – 10)
This week (and last week too for that matter) I have been quite honest about my struggles. I have tried to be honest too about where and how I have felt the Lord’s presence. I hope I have been clear enough about that. Even though I have felt as if I was in pit after pit, I have never felt that I was alone; the Lord was with me, comforted me, strengthened me. And when I was ready, the Lord lifted me up and set upon the Lord’s path for me.
So I say . . .
“Do not, O LORD, withhold your mercy from me; let your steadfast love and your faithfulness keep me safe forever.” (Verses 11)