In mercy severe
After the mountaintop of answered prayer and the great relief the doctor’s words had brought (“his heart is healthy”), I’ve got to tell you – I hit the skids. Monday came, that weekly opportunity for giving thanks and counting gifts here on the blog, and I was ticked.
I told Him about it, too, as I was huffing along the country road. “I don’t feel like saying ‘thank You,’ Lord. I’m actually kinda mad that You ask us to do that when things are rough and life is hard.” He listened, saying little as I vented. “How am I supposed to give thanks when I’m still waiting? I’m wriggling here, squirming in my seat, and I feel like I can’t wait one more day! You know what my family needs…”
He was, I know now, just waiting. Which brings me to yesterday when I opened His word and turned to Job, looking for something else entirely. Finding it, I browsed on down to find words of truth that pierced me to the core. It was Elihu, Job’s friend, that spoke.
“Why do you complain to Him? For God does speak – now one way, now another, though man may not perceive it. He may speak in their ears and terrify them with warnings in order to turn man from wrongdoing and keep him from pride, to preserve him from the pit.”
For months, I’d been entreating the Father for deliverance from a difficult thing. For months, I’d fought it, eager to escape, wanting life to be – well, comfortable for once. For months, He’d delayed.
Elihu continued, “God does all these things to a man (and a woman) twice – even three times – to turn his soul back from the pit, that the light of life may shine on him.”
Whoa. Bull’s eye!
My mind flashed back to the video we’d seen at church the night before and the comment dropped in conversation by Beth that had nailed me to the wall. Addressing singles, she’d said this,”If you’re not happy being single, then Lord have mercy! You won’t be happy when you’re married, either.”
And I knew what He was trying to say. There were still things (okay, sins, wrong attitudes) in my heart that I’d not fully addressed, and He was allowing me “Pit Time” to learn this lesson, to surrender more deeply. Too, I’d not yet learned “the secret of being content in every situation,” and He was giving me time and opportunity to repent of this.
So I began, listing the sins one by one in my journal as the Spirit brought them to mind, and I repented. I knew that hard as it was, this waiting and unpleasantness, it was actually a mercy because I was being drawn to a deeper and healthier walk with Christ. He was pruning me for greater fruitfulness and was saving me from myself!
How is it with you, my friend? Do you, like me, find yourself in a situation that just won’t go away? Could it be that He’s allowing you some “Pit Time” in His severe mercy so that “the light of life may shine on you (Job 33:30)?” Ask Him to show you what it’s for. There are many reasons for “Pit Times.” Pruning is only one.
Know this, too, that “He does not take His eyes off the righteous. He is wooing you from the jaws of distress to a spacious place free from restriction, to the comfort of your table laden with choice food (Job 36:7 a, 16)!” Amen and amen.
“He redeemed my soul from going down to the pit, and I will live to enjoy the light!” – Job 34:28