I waited patiently for YHWH;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.
- Psalm 40: 1-2
The slimy pit… the mud… the mire… stop and really think about that for a minute. If you’ve walked along any muddy path recently, try to remember what it was like as you carefully tried to squelch through, trying not to get in too deep, or get your shoes too muddy; trying to avoid slipping, or sliding, or worse… falling! Now imagine being stuck in a muddy field, with mud ankle-deep in every direction, but you need to get across. Then you slip, and before you know it, you’re neck deep in a slimy, smelly bog. You’re stuck in a pit, getting dirtier and messier by the minute, and you can’t see a way out. You are stuck. You are on your own.
Is this you right now? Because of a life situation? Or a work situation? Or the Coronavirus pandemic? Or because of your own sinful choices or actions? Or because someone has sinned against you? What do you do next? How do you get out? How do you get through? There is no easy solution, and you are genuinely trying to work out the least bad option.
From what we read about David’s life in 1st and 2nd Samuel, we see him in desperation, numerous times – for all the reasons above. Some Psalms (51, 52, 54, 56, 57) tell you the exact situation of desperation he is in, but this Psalm does not. However, David’s approach is the same in the Psalms: he turns to God, audibly, truthfully, and honestly; very often tearfully – he literally “cries” out to God. This doesn’t seem to be just a prayer time or prayer session, it seems to suggest a desperate crying, the way a baby might – to be fed, to have a nappy changed, to not be left alone.
If you are stuck right now, or in a total mess, with no easy way out, you are actually in a scenario very familiar to God. God has literally been rescuing his sons and daughters from desperate, desperate situations, for millennia!
Cry out to him, cry out to him honestly, cry out to him frequently, cry out to him with no filter. Find one or two people to cry out to God, with you, for you. Then listen for his word, and watch for him acting. His answer will often not be what you expect or anticipate, but if you call out to him honestly, in humility, and where needed, in repentance, he will listen, and he will respond – he has promised he will, and he never lies.
If you need to, stop right now, switch off your phone or computer, and get on your knees before God. Now.