Lamentations 3:55-57 “I called on Your name, O Lord,
From the lowest pit.
You have heard my voice:
“Do not hide Your ear
From my sighing, from my cry for help.”
You drew near on the day I called on You,
And said, “Do not fear!”
Have you ever felt like you were at the bottom of a pit of despair and all you could do was cry out to God for help?
I know I have been there. Those times when the world shows its true colors, darkness seems to be closing in all around you, and all seems hopeless then at that moment we can only muster a faint cry of, “Lord, help me”.
When a sinner who has ventured off on his own tangent thinking that all this world offers is good finds out this is what lies at the end, there can be a sense of hopelessness and fear.
Jeremiah found himself in this position, so did David, and Elijah, and Moses, and…well, pretty much everyone in the Bible at one point have realized the dead end road of sin. It as at these moments of vulnerability that we tend to finally acknowledge the mistakes we have made and cry out to God to rescue us again. When we call out, we see an interesting response.
“Do Not Fear”
Why would God say this the moment we cry out to Him?
The Lord knows what has kept us from trusting in Him before. Our pride gets in the way, our desire to create our own happiness seems to overrule God’s pathway to peace and so we venture our own way and it leads us to trouble.
We might even hesitate to call out because we know what we have done is wrong and it can be hard to face the Truth. There are consequences to sin, there always are. Some consequences are temporary while others leave wounds and scars that last for years.
When the Lord draws near, He approaches in Light, He illumines our darkness and our sin is exposed. It’s not the sin that brings fear, it is God’s abiding justice which represents all that is Holy. We cannot draw near to God in sin, sin is an affront to God’s righteousness and it mocks His throne. We can only come to God in repentance and humility, it is then by the blood of the Lamb that we are made acceptable in His sight.
Hebrews 9:14 “how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself unblemished to God, purify our consciences from works of death, so that we may serve the living God!”
There is something else these scriptures remind me of, look closely at Lamentations 3 and see what God does the moment we cry out..
Lamentations 3:55 “You drew near when I called on You; You said, “Do not be afraid.”
God immediately responds.
God doesn’t wait and watch you suffer and languish in your sin for enjoyment, He allows the destructive nature of sin to show it’s true self so that you might soften your heart and repent. The Holy Spirit brings conviction, it’s up to us to respond. Sure, we must recognize our mistake but ultimately it’s by God’s hand that we are rescued from the pit and set free from the embrace of darkness.
The Lord waits for our hearts to change.
Before we can truly grow from these experiences, we have to recognize what led us there in the first place. It is at this moment, where we draw conclusions of sin or righteousness, that we find whether we will move forward in wisdom or continue in foolishness.
How many times do we have to fall into this pit of despair before we grow wiser to the actions we’ve taken that leave us once again at the bottom?
We must place safeguards in our paths that remind us before we make these error again. Those safeguards are brothers or sisters in Christ, watchmen on the wall, calling out when danger approaches. We are called to uphold others in this same way and as we go about building our walls of righteousness, we stand ready with a sword in hand while laying the bricks.
Nehemiah recognized the necessity for preparedness. The work must be done but the enemy remains, we can’t lose sight of the dangers that persist while we go about the task at hand.
Nehemiah 4:16-18 “So it was, from that time on, that half of my servants worked at construction, while the other half held the spears, the shields, the bows, and wore armor; and the leaders were behind all the house of Judah. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.”
Yes, the Lord is our protector, our shield in the midst of the enemies attack, and yet He likewise equips us for battle. We have been given resources for accomplishing the work He has set before us, we must only use them as He ordained.
The response of God is quick when we need Him urgently, it is calculated when He works in ways we cannot see, and He restores us when we fail.
We would do well to save ourselves the agony of the bottom of the well and avoid the pit of despair before we fall into it.
I’ve fallen into those traps far too many times and I now must consider the wisdom I need to press on in victory. I hope you do as well.