Monday, October 26, 2009

God Is Still In Control When You Are In A Pit

Have you ever felt like God is so far away that you are sure you must be "cut off" from Him? Have you experienced what some call "the dark night of the soul"? Have you been in a pit that you could not climb out of but by the grace of God. A strong and mighty hand was the only thing that would suffice to deliver you?

You are not alone. It is said by several speakers and authors (usually those who have gone on before us) that God's people will inevitably experience such a time.

I did. 1999...I "went in" to a pit of depression, anxiety and panic attacks. No matter what I tried, what I read, how much I tried to "Tell Myself the Truth", or quote scripture, I remained in such a state. For a year I struggled, and during the times when I had other women meeting with me, my head would stay above water, but when school started the fall of 2000, the women were too busy to meet, and I was once again alone in a darkness it would take me too long to describe. That fall was "the dark night of my soul".

I slept very little, the insomnia I had was beyond what I ever knew a human to be able to go through. And if you have experienced oppression, you understand and agree with me that it is in the most vulnerable dark place where the enemy comes in and hurls accusations at you and tells you what a loser you are, and attacks you with whatever works against you. I was in the deep shadows of unbelief, fear and condemnation. The hair literally stood up on the back of my neck a few times when I saw the filth of my soul...

And yet... a thread of faith was ever present. It was in the moments of deep despair and near hopelessness when the Lord would whisper a truth that I could stand"when we are faithless, He will be faithful for He cannot disown Himself." I knew I had no faith. My husband had shouted it at me one morning in his frustration with my lack of sleep. BUT then...the Lord whispered, "I have given you a measure of faith." Always coming through for me ever so quietly, and sometimes very rare it seemed, but just when I needed it most...The Lord's voice. When I felt crazy, I heard "but we have the mind of Christ." When I felt I had no place going to church, I was too pathetic, I heard, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."~always a whisper.

It was in the darkness where I died to my self. I learned that the things I expected of myself, and the things others expected from me could not be fulfilled by me. I am powerless. Without the Lord and His power, I am a clay pot. Without His power, His life in me, I am an empty vessel. Barren. Dead.

It was in this darkness where I found life. True life. Not life by human power...for all flesh fails. But Holy Spirit power. The ability to let go of what I could not hold on to...responsibility, creating, or sustaining anything on my own, to the freedom to exist with the life of the Spirit of God in me, and the power of God to work through me, to give Him the responsibility...the credit...the glory for anything good in my life, and to release the disappointments to Him to make into something for His purposes.

I began to see a counselor at some point in the initial year of my anxiety, and after several times seeing him, cried to the Lord, "God, this is going to take 100 years!!!!!! Your word says that You are the Wonderful Counselor, please help me!" ...So I sat with the Lord for one to three hours every day for... well, it has been 10 years. Reading His word, talking to Him, listening to Him. He took me back to things in the past, he brought me to places of pain, and challenge in the years that followed, and gradually He has set me free. I am totally free today. His truth has and continues set me free.

What brings me great joy today is to tell you that God had a purpose in allowing me in the pit. When I was there I struggled with all the same issues you probably do/did...Was it something I did? Do I need to do something? Is there something I am missing? Does God love me still? I mean, I know in my head, but my heart just cannot seem to believe it or receive it...

But now...the ability to understand the pit, to encourage and love people through it, to know that God is doing something in the darkness that could never be done in the light. Like the seed that goes into the ground and dies before it becomes a plant. You, child of God, will experience a death that the life of Christ might be made manifest in you. You see, we limit God with our striving, and we strive naturally, only by a work of God in our lives will we be able to lay down our striving in order for Him to rise up in us.

The Bible says we need to take up our cross daily. It is not a one time death. It is a daily choice, but there is a time, a season of pruning that God will take you through to get you ready for the ministry He wants to do through your life. Some might go through a couple of pits, some might be darker than others...but all of us must experience a measure of darkness in order for the jar of clay to be broken (our flesh) and the light of Jesus to shine out and bring true life into this world...

Look up, sister, for your redemption draws near!


Anonymous said...

I wept as I read this. This is where I am, with no idea how long it will last. I've never been through something like this before, and I have no one to stand with me through it. It's lonely and terrifying. As a man, I'm called to be strong, to move forward into the darkness, to have faith, to endure in the midst of this pain. But I'm failing at every turn, and I can't afford to fail. I'm leaning on the Lord and crying out to Him in the brokenness, but at the same time I've never felt farther from Him. I know He is working for my good, but I'm paralyzed with the thought that my life (I) will fall apart before this season is over and the pain subsides. I suppose your post encouraged me, knowing you survived it, and hopefully, so will I. As one who's been there, could you pray for me? Thank you.

Kathy S. said...

Dear Brother in the Lord,
May the Lord refresh you today. I am praying for you!

Your place of paralasys is where you need to let go. You are still holding on to your life. God wants you to trust Him with it. He is able to make all grace abound to you so that in all things and at all times, YOU WILL ABOUND IN EVERY GOOD WORK. He is able.

Romans 8:1,28,29 hold promises for you to sustain you. Jeremiah 29:11 I am aware that in your state, they may feel/look just like black letters on a page, your heart is unable to absorb them...but remember they have life and power, though you feel dead inside. Say them out loud. "Thank you Lord that you have plans to prosper me, and not to harm me, to give me hope and a future!". Thank you Lord that you are going to work this for good!"

I remember feeling like I would be a hypocrite if I praised the Lord because I didn't feel it in my heart, but then one day I realized I didn't need to feel it, I could priase the Lord because He is worthy! Praise is a powerful tool/weapon against the forces of darkness.

Praise Him in the storm. I am not sure why you are alone. I trusted that I was alone because of God's plan for me, what He wanted me to gain from it. I think many men are alone in thier journey of faith today, I will pray for an encourager to come alongside you.

You WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! Never give up or quit. Be in the Word of God and go to as many places as you can where He is. I receied much healing from going to a women's confrence and hearing LIFE spoken...truth.

I think I will do a series of specific deliverance experiences I had with the Lord. Truths He showed me that set me free.

God bless you and fill you with His peace. He will make Himself known to you in a great way during this valley in your journey. Remember there is a light at the opening of the Pit and God is there reaching down and is going to lift you out!

In Christ,

Joyful said...

Kathy, I too spent a year in a pit of depression. I could relate so well to what you have written here. I would never ask for that year to be repeated, but on the other side of it my relationship with the Lord has become so intimate, that it was worth it all. It made no sense to me at the time. The sleeplessness. The continual knot in my stomach. The darkness. The apathy. The loneliness. The hopelessness. The distance. But God.

I would love to read the specific deliverance experiences that set you free that you mention in the comment above. God stories encourage us all.

Love & prayers,
A former pit dweller,

Debbie said...

I experienced similar circumstances last year. It's the first time I've heard it verbalized and I can hardly stand to remember that time. I didn't recognize it for what it was at the time and the depression kept me from talking to anyone initially. I hope I never go through that again. I'm so sorry for you, and thankful that you recognize the source and also the cure.