I recently spent time in the pit of utter and total despair. But with my Savior's help, I climbed out and got the victory.
My life has been going along pretty smoothly without too many pitfalls. My husband recently got laid off but these things should be easy. Since I am a Christian and in God's will I know to expect these attacks more frequently than most people. I just happen to know how to handle them and confront them when tragedy strikes. But during Easter weekend, this attack was more deadly than I had anticipated. It was this brief time in the pit that I was re-affirmed of this lesson and I would like to share it with you now. Perhaps it could be of some help.
On Good Friday, I had returned home after a special church service to a husband who was tending to his depression of this recent layoff, much physical pain and past unforgiveness with one too many beers. I recognized his spiritual weaknesses in not knowing how to fight when the enemy attacks. His comsumption was more than necessary, it was overboard to say the least. Something he doesn't normally do, but on this night one led to another and he was intoxicated to the point of rage. I knew this wasn't him as he's normally very gentle and loving and would never lift a hand to hurt me. I know God's Word tells us our battles are not against flesh and blood but of powers and principalities. So, I realize how the enemy works through our loved ones to get to us.
It was the Tuesday before when our pastor had told me I was to deliver the Sunrise Service message on Resurrection Sunday. So I had prepared a message that I felt was appropriate for the occasion, but it obviously was not the message the Lord wanted me to give.
I also realize that God will never allow the enemy to do any more to us than what He permits. It's His reasons behind permitting these things that we don't always understand, but if we are firm and stable in our Christian walk, we can trust it by faith. At first I didn't understand any of it. But once I looked at the situation, I understood fully the reasoning for all the mayhem that broke out. Satan did not want me to give this message!
Obviously not himself, my husband went off the deep end when I asked him a simple question. Before I knew it, he was shouting and yelling and saying things I knew weren't from him. He approached me in anger, he grabbed me and pushed me against the stove and ripped my beloved cross off my neck. I could only recognize this as the work of Satan, as my husband loves the Lord and would never do such a thing. As he proceeded to knock the glass out of my hand, I called upon the Lord for back up. Not wanting to encounter further confrontation, I went into the bedroom, hoping he would calm down. But he didn't. He called me by my name, something he never does. His pet name for me is "Honey" or "Babygirl" but it was my name he called. He instructed me to come out in the livingroom, he had something to show me. I recognized this from times past. It is at this point in time that I know Satan has complete control. Much to my horror, he was holding a can of kerosene and threatening to pour it on himself. Satan is a liar and if you're not strong enough to combat those lies, he can convince you to do most anything. I actually rebuked him at this point which took my husband by surprise.
I got loose from his grip, grabbed my phone and ran out of the house. I was beside myself and felt so alone. My main concern was my husband, would he really harm himself? I needed professional backup so I dialed 911 and reported the incident. It seemed like forever before anyone came, but I took it to the Lord in prayer as I waited. With tears streaming down my face I looked up at an officer who was standing by my car. "Are you alright?" he asked. "No" was my obvious reply. He invited me to briefly explain the situation before going into the house.
After several minutes, he came back out and told me to come inside. By then my husband was back to himself and had calmed down.
It ended up that he was taken to the emergency room and admitted himself for the next 24 hours to be determined that he was not a threat to me or himself.
It was around 3 am when I got home. So many things were going through my head, so many "what ifs". One thought that came to mind was I couldn't possibly give that message now. But as quickly as that thought came, I dismissed it. I recognized it as a lie from Satan. Was he able to stop me from doing what the Lord had already predestined for me? No, the enemy didn't have that kind of control over me. Could God possibly even be testing my faithfulness? Yes, God could very well be testing me and I was not going to fail!
From this pit, I cried out for help. I needed Him. I needed His word. It was in my despair that He took me to Psalm 130. God understood where I was and He said, "Come this way." It was this psalm that became the focal point of my message on Sunday morning. It describes first our utter despair in the face of adversity and ends with praising Him and feeling comfort in the midst of trouble. It allowed me to drift off into a peaceful slumber and get some sleep.
My heartfelt message was about being in the pit of life. We all get thrown in there at one time or another. Some more than others. But how do we handle the time in the pit? We have one of two choices. One, we can curl up and choose to be bitten by the poisonous adders, otherwise known as the world or we can look up and climb out with God's help. People love to fill us full of negative thoughts by feeding us negative words. This poison kills. If we remain in this state, we will surely die in here. We have given Satan the victory and this is his mission. He counts on weak Christians to give up by distracting them from the One and only Who can save. If we don't do like the psalmist in the first and second verse who wrote, "Out of the depths I have cried to You, O LORD, LORD, hear my voice! Let Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications" how then can He possibly answer us? We must be the ones to cry out to Him from the pit of despair. It's this intense desire to find Him. This despair should never shut us up, even though this is what Satan desires that we do. It's this deep prayer that begets deep devotion. Our time of distress is the time that our faith should stand alone. It's these trials and tribulations that create our earnest, heartfelt prayers. It's this trust from the pit that He faithfully hears and answers. This produces our strength as believers to know there is always a way out. I chose the second option and started my ascent to the top.
It's in this humbling position that God loves to hear and respond. We as Christians must ask ourselves, "How many times has God helped me?" The psalmist realized that it would have been awful had he not been able to look back on answered prayer. But even more awful it would have been to never have even cried out in the first place. It's here that not much else matters, it's not what we do or couldn't do, what matters is we did pray. For the one who cries out in the pit will soon be singing His praises from the pinnacle!
As the next 6 verses go on, we see that without God's unfailing love and forgiveness, we wouldn't have a chance. But God can and will use these dark times of despair to humble us. It's only when we are brought very low that He can place us on the mountain top. Like that song says, "You raise me up to stand on mountains, You raise me up to walk on stormy seas, I am strong when I am on Your shoulder, You raise me up to more than I can be." How true this is. I praise Jesus Christ for raising me up from the pit.
This is no time to lay down on the job. We must keep waiting and watching and expecting Him. This is the hardest part. No matter how long it takes...God is always on time, because it's in His time, not ours. But in emergencies, God has a way of responding quickly and not a minute too late. And no matter what He does, it's for His glory and our good.
Did good come out of this? Yes. I gave this message and I knew it was the message He wanted me to speak all along, because someone needed to hear it as well. We all get tossed in the pit from time to time, but we are never alone. He provides the way out if we just ask Him. Perhaps you're in a pit or know someone who is. Share this strengthening Word and look up!
I passed my test of faithfulness, I stayed in the will of the Lord and I did it with a renewed spirit. It was a beautiful Resurrection Sunday and no devil on earth or in hell was going to take my joy from me.
My husband came home later that day, he had time to think about what he'd done, he realized how the enemy used him and how he would never let that happen again.
So yes, God does work all things together for the good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. (Rom. 8:28)
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