When I find myself in a “pit of despair” the last thing in the world I want to do is “wait patiently.” But that’s exactly what David said he did in Psalm 40…
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,Psalm 40:1–2
and He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
If I’m in a “pit of despair, I want out . . . NOW!
The Bible doesn’t tell us what David was going through at the time and honestly, the “what” doesn’t really matter. All we know through the various translations is that it felt like—death, quicksand, and destruction. It was horrible, dangerous, desolate, lonely, confusing, wretched, and he was despondent.
Those are not feelings that typically make us want to wait patiently.
But David knew God’s track record. He knew that he could trust God’s love and His timing.
So, today we’re going to look at a list of things to do when life is confusing, lonely, and filled with despair.
Things to Do When You’re in the Pit of Dispair
1. Pray – Cry Out to God
Lord, you do not withhold Your compassion from me.Psalm 40:11, 13 (CSB)
Your constant love and truth will always guard me.
Lord, be pleased to rescue me;
hurry to help me, Lord.
2. Wait Patiently – Trust God’s Timing
How happy is anyonePsalm 40:4 (CSB)
who has put his trust in the Lord
and has not turned to the proud
or to those who run after lies!
3. Count Your Blessings Remember What God Has Done in the Past
Lord my God, you have done many things—Psalm 40:5 (CSB)
your wondrous works and your plans for us;
none can compare with you.
If I were to report and speak of them,
they are more than can be told.
4. Follow God’s Will – Love and Serve Others
I delight to do Your will, my God,Psalm 40:8 (CSB)
and Your instruction is deep within me.
5. SEEK God First – God is Who He Says He Is and He Keeps His Promises
Let all who seek You rejoice and be glad in You;Psalm 40:16–17 (CSB)
let those who love Your salvation continually say,
“The Lord is great!”
I am oppressed and needy;
may the Lord think of me.
You are my helper and my deliverer;
my God, do not delay.
A Prayer to Trust God and Wait Patiently
Father, it’s hard to wait patiently in a pit of despair. I’ve vainly tried to claw my out by myself but I’ve been unsuccessful. I’ve collapsed in exhaustion and wondered how long I’ll be here. I want to be free from this feeling of hopelessness. I need You. I need Your help. I need hope.
So, I cry out to You in prayer. Your Word tells me to devote myself to prayer; to stay alert with thanksgiving. (Colossians 4:2) You promise that You have plans and purposes for me and that when I pray, You will listen. (Jeremiah 29:11–12) I don’t believe Your plans for me include living in a pit of despair.
You want me to live with hope. You want me to trust Your timing and follow Your will. You want me to remember the ways You have delivered me in the past. And You want me to SEEK You and Your Kingdom so that I might KNOW that You are who You say You are and that You faithfully keep Your promises.
I will thank and praise You. I believe that by Your grace, You will lift me out of this pit planting my feet on a firm foundation. I believe that You will hold me up and steady as I walk this journey. I believe that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
I love you! I will proclaim Your greatness! And with Your help, I will do my best to live each day for Your glory. Amen.
This lesson is repeated throughout Scripture.
It sometimes feels easier to give up and give in to despair. We can be tempted to grab a blanket and get comfortable in misery. But God wants so much more for us. He also wants us to want the “more” that He wants for us.
He gave His life so that we might have “more.” Jesus said that He came to give us LIFE in abundance. (John 10:10)
And that abundance includes peace, joy, contentment, thankfulness, strength, courage, hope, and so much more. So, if you’re stuck in a pit of despair, run to your Heavenly Father and trust Him to set you free and give you everything you need to steadily walk the journey ahead.
God be with you and bless you. May you see His hand reaching out to lift you up and set your feet on solid ground.
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