When You Are In The Pit: Don’t Despair.
This is an excerpt from the soon to be released book From Babel to The New Jerusalem: God’s Heart For The Nations
You may feel like you are in a pit and that there is no way out. All seems lost as everywhere you turn, you face hopelessness, lack, and impossible situations. Everywhere you turn, it looks like a brick wall is staring you in the face.
How did you get here, and what are you going to do about it? Did the enemy surround you and pull the wheels off of everything? Was it circumstances beyond your control that led you into your current situation? Maybe you have a life-threatening disease, loss of job or income, strained relationships, and then no one understands you and thinks you are crazy. Things may have been thrust on you that was not your doing, and no, you see no way out.
You are in good company. Others around you are in a pit. Maybe they dug their own pit. Perhaps someone was out in a pit that God built just for them and this season. Did you catch that? Yes, God can design a pit and put you there to accomplish His purposes. Let’s look at the life of someone we consider to be a forerunner of Christ.
Joseph The Dreamer Goes Down Into The Pit
We find the story of Joseph scattered in the latter chapters of Genesis. Jacob loves Rachel, and she finally bears Jacob a son, whom they name Joseph or may ‘God add.’ Joseph has many dreams where he is elevated to a position of authority. He relates these dreams repeatedly, and it annoys his brothers to the point that they place him in a pit. Later, they pull him out and sell him to a band of Ishmaelite traders.
Eventually, Joseph is raised up to be in charge of a man named Potiphar’s household. Potiphar is a wealthy and powerful man under Pharaoh’s kingdom. But things quickly go awry again.
When Joseph was in the pit, I am sure he pondered why he was there. Maybe he reminded God of all of the promises that He had made him. “You promised my family would bow to me,” he may have told God. Now God is telling him you are in a pit, and you are in no place to dictate terms and what will happen.
God had a purpose in giving Joseph those dreams. He has a purpose in giving you dreams. You may not be called to be the prophet that feeds the nations of the world, but whatever God calls you to do, it is only something that He can do. You can’t do it without Him.
These are when those pit moments become great. God allows us to put ourselves there, or He uses the enemy to get our attention. Sometimes we have to endure multiple pits because we didn’t understand the others, and God had to pull us out, or we got all we needed in that pit.
From Head of House To Head of Prisoners
Joseph had found himself in a nice position since becoming the steward of Potiphar’s house. Everything in that household was at his disposal except for Potiphar’s wife. Joseph had been grounded in the Word of God and knew it was not his place to have his master’s wife. So when he refused her strong and continuous advances, he was eventually thrown in prison since Potiphar’s wife could not have him.
I am sure that by now, Joseph is wondering if God was still on his side or if he would ever see those dreams come to fruition. He had survived the pit, and that turned out ok. He had everything going for him, and now this jail thing has him down. What in the world is going on?
Like Joseph, you may have survived a few pits, and the favor of God is all over you. Suddenly the situation changes, and you find yourself in a bigger, deeper, wider pit than ever before. Or you feel like you are in prison. You quickly lose sight of the promises of God. But the promises of God are still valid. What changed is your circumstances.
God knows where you are at, and He sees all that you are going through. Remember, he allowed you to be where you are. If you ever hope to rise above the place you are in now, you need a fresh set of lenses to see what is happening. You need God’s perspective. He may have promised you a huge promotion, job, or ministry, but right now, you are in deep debt, and you have no income, your spouse is sick, and you can’t afford a doctor.
In these moments, when you surrender everything to God and rest in His promises, you can rise above the situation. God takes us through various seasons where we are pruned, we flourish, and we go through summers and winters and springtimes again.
In Joseph’s case, he had the fortunate opportunity to interpret two of Pharaoh’s top servants’ dreams. You see, God knew that the cupbearer and baker would be in the same prison as He would put Joseph. Nothing takes God by surprise. God needed to get Joseph in front of Pharaoh so that he could not just interpret his dreams but advise him on what to do regarding the potential famine.
Dealing With Character
When God calls us, he prepares us. The bigger the task, the more work He needs to do to get us ready. Pride is undoubtedly one of those things that must be dealt with. Jesus already paid the price for our sins, and we still have character flaws that need work. God allows these pits, prisons, and people who forget us so that every defect and stronghold in our life is dealt with. Joseph had way too much pride to be Pharoah’s second in command.
Joseph’s pride was dealt with to a degree in the pit. God gave him a favor, but Joseph was still not ready to be God’s prophet to the nations. In this case, his prophetic ministry was not so much an oracular one like Isaiah or Jeremiah but a sign ministry. He prepared the nation’s for the famine by saving and storing food. Later, the nations, including the Hebrew children, come down to Egypt to get their provisions.
God loves the nations, and ever since that Babel incident, He has been trying to get their attention. The story of Joseph is just one of those stories that indicate God’s willingness to go to great lengths to save people everywhere, and he will prepare His chosen vessel by any means necessary.
You may not be called to be a significant leader like Joseph, but whatever God calls you to, He will deal with character and shape you into a choice vessel for His service. If you are in a pit, you are in good company, and God is for you.
For more, read Jeremiah’s experience and thank God you are not in his shoes.