No More Pit Dwelling for Me
Lysa TerKeurst

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10 (NIV)

Have you ever been in a pit? Yesterday I was. But I’m refusing to stay there. So, today, I am choosing to be thank-full instead of pity-full. With each thing I verbalize my thankfulness for, it is like a stepping stone out of the pit.

Interestingly enough, there is always a Bible character that you can read about who found themselves in the pit as well. I mean, God's people have a tendency to be pit dwellers. But, the beautiful thing about the Bible stories is God always shows the way out.

In Daniel 6:10, Daniel had just learned that if anyone was caught praying to anyone else besides King Darius, they would be thrown into the Lion's Den. That's a serious pit! But Daniel's reaction is amazing.

He went home, threw his windows open, and prayed anyway. I'm not thinking he did this because he felt good. I'm imagining he felt like anyone would feel if their life was in danger. But he rose above his feelings to make a choice.

And do you know what he chose to pray?
"God, save me"? No.
"God, it's not fair"? No.
"God, this is too much"? No.
"God, help me face this with courage"? No.
"God, smite my enemies and wipe them out"? No.

What Daniel prayed is a powerful lesson for me.

Daniel prayed, "Thank you, God." That's right, the Bible said Daniel prayed prayers of thanksgiving just as he had done before. What this teaches me is three things. First, Daniel had a habit of being thankful. Therefore, who God is and what God provides was front and center in Daniel's heart.

Secondly, being a thankful person helped Daniel combat fear and feelings of being overwhelmed. Never once does the story mention Daniel trying to hide. He threw his windows open and made sure people saw him praying! Daniel knew that if God saved him from the lions, he would be okay. Daniel also had peace that if God did not save him from the lions, he would be in heaven with God and therefore okay.

Lastly, Daniel's unwavering faith in God made a lasting impression on others. At the end of Daniel's lion den experience, King Darius says in verse 26 that Daniel's God, our God, is the living God who endures forever!

Dear God, I know it is normal for us to sometimes find ourselves in a pit. But we don’t have to stay there. Thank you for providing your timeless truths that prove to us over and over again, how powerfully capable You always are. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources
Thank-FULL, Fear-LESS message, on CD by Lysa TerKeurst

Visit Lysa’s Blog

A Recipe for Christmas Joy, E-book by Marybeth Whalen

“Love in Action” – P31 Compassion Blog

Application Steps
Make a list of things you are thankful for. Put it in a file called “Directions out of the pit.” Add to your thankful list often. The next time you feel your heart being pulled into a pitiful place, pull your file out and start thanking God out loud for everything on your list.

Reflections
Is there anyone in your life that you can turn to when you are having a pit day? Make sure it is someone who will help remind you of all the good things in you and in your life.

If you don’t have a friend like this, pray for God to send this kind of friend.

Are there circumstances about your life that seem to drag you down on a consistent basis? What can you do to eliminate or at least minimize their effect on you?

Are you spending time thanking God each day for something? If not, why not start today and make this a new, healthy habit!

Power Verses
Lamentations 3:54- 58, “The waters closed over my head, and I thought I was about to be cut off. I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: 'Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.' You came near when I called you, and you said, Do not fear. O Lord, you took up my case; you redeemed my life.” (NIV)

Jonah 2: 6-7, “To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you brought my life up from the pit, O Lord my God. When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, LORD, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.” (NIV)

Ecclesiastes 4:10, “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up.” (NIV)

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9 Comments:

Blogger Sisterlisa said...

That's good. I'll bet this is in Beth's book 'Get out of that Pit', my husband had just got it for me. I think my life is so busy right now I don't have time to be in a pit. :P But I do know what you're saying. I've been there before many times.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

you just gave me a great idea for Christmas. trying to decide what the little ones can get for their daddy has been tough. a thank you bag full of notes and drawings of why we are thankful for the one God has blessed us with to provide for us and teach us might just be the perfect gift. maybe while we are at it we can do the same for each other to help us remember that we need to ALWAYS be thankful for each other. God is good. the ultimate thank you goes to Jesus. your sister in Christ

Anonymous Sam said...

Today is payday and I have been so broke over the last few months. I am a single mom and in the past year my income has decreased by about 40% leaving me struggling to hold my head above water. I'm a month and a half behind on my rent and have a cut off notice for my gas for today which means no heat, no hot water, and no stove. I live in a community that was hit by a huge ice storm last week and another storm is coming in with snow in the forcast for today and tomorrow. I sat down to figure out how to make my car payment, pay the $500 in back payments to the gas company and still buy groceries before going to the bank this morning on my way to work. When I arrived at the bank I discovered that my check had been direct deposited but because my loan payment was late (one of those ridiculous 400% payday loans)they had automatically withdrawn the entire amount due from my checking account, leaving me with $512 to make it to the 1st. that means I can pay my car payment and then have $210 left to tithe, buy groceries for my family and keep gas in my car to get to work the next couple of weeks. I have no family here and they wouldn't help me even if I told them what was going on and I just began to sob as I sat in the bank drive-thru. I had KLOVE radio station on and while I was weeping and crying out to God in desperation and anger, and despair, I heard a clip about ideas to keep Christ in Christmas from this website. When I got to work I locked myself in my office and in the middle of my despair, I thought about what I heard on the radio and pulled the site up to look for things I can do for my boys for Christmas that will keep our focus on the Lord and not on the commercialism and our lack of ability to participate in that aspect of Christmas. Even when I was pulling the site up, I was thinking, I should be trying to figure out how to get heat in my home, not how to make an advent candle. When I got to the homepage I saw the daily devotional and started to read it instead of searching for Christmas ideas. Today's devotion about the pit was written just for me. When I saw my bank account this morning I felt so alone and abandoned by God. I still don't feel great about my situation but the devotion made me think of something a friend once said to me... "If they can't cook you and eat you, you are going to be O.K." I don't know what I'm going to do or how I will climb out of this pit, but Job didn't curse God and die and I guess I won't either.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This response is to Sam, my dear sister in Christ. Oh sweetie I have been there ! And it is in this very pit that Christ is calling out to you ! When everything on the OUTSIDE is falling apart and you don't know what to do -- the true peace only comes from KNOWING that God is your strength. Turn to Him, say it out loud that you submit your life to Him. Nothing this world can throw at you will ever take His peace and comfort from you. Keep Him first in your thoughts, when you begin to worry -- say it out loud that My Lord is my strength ! It works ! Contact your local women's shelter, your church, your food pantry -- these people are representing Christ here on earth for you -- reach out to them and they will take care of you. Hang in there girl and know that you are in my prayers, and you are in God's loving arms.

Blogger shattuck7 said...

Dear Sam...I am going to lift you up to God as a modern day Hagar from Genesis 21. Forced to leave her home with her son, Ishmael, a little bread, and a bottle of water, she was sent out to the desert...wilderness. When the water and bread were gone so was her hope, energy, and outlook. Despair must have been written all over her face and heart as she place Ishmael under a bush so she wouldn't have to watch him die. God's first act was to assure her of her future and the future of her son. Then He opened her eyes to see the well of water. My heart just stopped as I read your note. I can sense your fear, bewilderment, and over whelming emotion. God has a special place in His heart for widows and orphans. I think single moms fit in there somewhere. May He bring you the needed assurance that your life and future are in His hands. Then may He open your eyes to the "well" He has waiting for you. I pray you are blown away by what He will do! Please, please, please let me know how things turn out!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Sam,

Thank you for sharing your difficulties. Keep holding on. I praise the Lord for your faith and He will continue to give you peace and joy this Christmas. I pray that He will shower you and your child with blessings so that your bills will be paid and you can have groceries, gas and more. Praise God in faithfulness you are tithing. He will not fail to bless such faithfulness to Himself. I praise His name for you, His faithful, servant.

Your sister in Christ.

Anonymous Sam said...

Oh ladies, thank you so much! When I posted my original comment it was just out of such a feeling of aloneness and desperation. To realize now that it would bring about prayers and encouragement from my sisters whom I have never met is so comforting and encouraging!

I attempted to make some sort of payment arrangement with the gas company in order to keep my services on but they weren't willing since the past due amount was so high. However, no one showed up to turn it off as they were scheduled to and as of this moment it is still on!

In addition, my landlady contacted me and asked me to come by her office as they were providing a turkey for all of their tenants for Christmas. When I arrived there was a turkey and two bags of groceries! All this despite the fact that I have only paid 2/3 of my rent for November and have yet to pay any rent for this month!

I don't know if it is just my conservative upbringing(pull yourself up by your bootstrap mentality)or my silly pride, but I just can't bring myself to tell anyone what I am going through! Even if I could, I fear that it might negatively impact my job. I work with inner city kids and families and hardly think I could go ask for help from the same agencies, food pantries, etc. that I send my clients to.

I think that same mentality creates a self-conscious assumption on my part that people are judging me as a single mom (I have 3 birth children, an adopted son, my adopted son's half brother who lives in a boys and comes to stay on weekends, holidays, etc., plus a little boy that is a former client of mine and has a less than healthy home environment so he also stays with us on weekends, school breaks, and summer)

Coming to this site and reading your encouraging comments is so heartwarming! Thanks for your prayers and encouragement!

God Bless, Sam

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I encourage you to pray about sharing your struggles with your local church or other Christian organization in your community. It is an extremely difficult thing to do, but I will be so bold as to say that the Lord has a beautiful testimony in store for you. Search His Word and listen for His Voice. Act in obedience to what He says.

You and your children are covered in prayer my sister in Christ.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lisa Necesitamos mas de estos mensajes en español!

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