"When it rains, I share my umbrella. When I have no umbrella, I share the rain." ~ Anonymous
Friday, 23 March 2018
IN THE PIT
In my distress I screamed to the Lord for his help. And he heard me from heaven; my cry reached his ears. ~ Psalm 18:6 TLB
It was the morning after the biggest betrayal in my life. The wind had been completely knocked out of me. Arriving in the office was like an escape for the day: where it would be okay to stay busy and not acknowledge my emotions. Out of habit, I flipped my desktop calendar past the weekend, and found the day's inspiration was Psalm 18:6, as written above.
"In my distress" seemed to be putting it mildly today. I had devoted my life to choosing someone who - as it turns out - was actively choosing anyone but me. I had literally invested blood, sweat, tears, finances, gifts and prayers into this relationship. And in a moment, none of it mattered. In a single heartbeat, I had been tossed aside. I was old-fashioned, fat and boring. Less than...again.
Zapped of air and void of strength, I had yet to confront my betrayer. Questions swirling in my head were held in by this lump in my throat. My emotional pendulum was swinging rapidly between deep hurt and fierce anger. Silence, I reasoned, was my best modus operandi until I had words and a plan.
"...I screamed to the Lord for His help." This must be one of the most realistic verses in the entire Word of God, and it found me. On this day. King David didn't come to God with a professional prayer. He didn't come to the house of God with joyful thanksgiving or with respectful whispers. Instead, David screamed to God from his hiding place. And although we aren't given David's exact words of choice, I bet we've used them a few times ourselves: God, where are you? Can You even hear me? Do You even care about me, still?
In Biblical times, a person in a pit was associated with death. Pits served a purpose, such as watering crops and animals. To place a human body in a pit indicated someone was deceased, their body used to feed wild animals or fertilize soil. There are only 2 - perhaps 3 - times a person is recorded as surviving the pit. Joseph was the first. Remember when his brothers stripped him of his colorful robe and threw him in a pit? Jealousy can drive a person to do things they would otherwise deem unacceptable. Thankfully, conscience got the better of them, and the sibling group retrieved Joseph, selling him as a slave. Still, he remained stripped of his identity and far away from everyone he knew and loved. I'm so there. Daniel was the second recorded survivor. He had done everything right, essentially becoming second-in-command in the kingdom. Still, jealousy found a way to sabotage him and Daniel found himself in a pit. Surrounded by lions. Stripped of position, void of companionship, in a place of complete darkness. Again...I'm so there. The passage concerning King David is somewhat unclear as to whether he was in a pit or a cave. Either way, it was a place of darkness and isolation. A place of soul searching. As far as I can tell, the only thing that separates David's dark place from Joseph's and Daniel's, is what happened inside. We do not read of any response from Joseph from the depths of darkness. There is no record of his begging or pleading with his brothers: no cries for mercy or for help. Similarly, nothing indicates that Daniel cried for escape. Though I am certain they both prayed, we are led to believe their prayers were relevantly quiet and dignified. King David, though? He was more like me. I love that 1 Samuel 13:14 refers to David as "a man after [God's] own heart," because it gives me hope that all my human ways are at least forgivable. In all of the Old Testament, David is the only character I recall described as screaming at God. Certainly Job had cause to, given the scope of his losses. If I were Abraham, I may have protested loudly when asked to sacrifice my child. Still, David's is the only confession to screaming at God in his distress.
I am in a dark place at the moment. I know that there is a way out, and that "Emmanuel" means "God with us." But I may need to scream to confirm to my heart and soul that God hears me, sees me, and has great plans for me. I would love it if my screams were balanced with some whispered prayers from friends like you.