5 Principles from the PitSeptember 19, 2013
Sometimes life is the pits…literally. Just ask Joseph.
He was the many-colored-coat-wearing-favorite-son of his father who stirred the bitter ashes of hatred and jealousy in the hearts of his brothers. They hated the fact that their father blatantly and continually showed favoritism toward the younger son. They hated that obnoxious, one-of-a-kind, “look-at-how-special-I am” jacket he paraded around in. And they especially hated those dreams….those blessed, patronizing, arrogant dreams. Such animosity led to murderous and unanimous contention. Had it not been for Reuben, the eldest, they would have stripped him of that coat and left him for dead. Instead they threw Joseph into a pit: an empty, waterless, cold, indifferent pit.
Have you ever been there? Sure you have.
Those spiritual lowlands are common terrain for the child of God. David knew what it was like to be in a horrible pit. Jeremiah sank in the mire while in the depths of the dungeon. Daniel was cast down in the den of lions. The children of Israel threw themselves in pits at Gilgal when King Saul sinned. I reiterate, sometimes life is the pits, but that is not always a bad thing.
By design, pits are not just low and lonely places, they are actually learning places. They are underground institutes where God instills divinely-constructed principles for our advancement and growth. They may feel like small, shallow graves, but ironically they serve to harbor life, at least the kind of life that fulfills a God-sized dream.
So the question becomes, what are we supposed to learn during those pit-moments?
1. Not Every One Appreciates Your Dream
Just because God has placed a huge, holy, heavenly dream into your life doesn’t mean that everyone else will understand it. Sometimes those closest to you will reject your attempts at serving God. Jealousy and feelings of inadequacy will cause others to question your motives and intents. Don’t be surprised when others refuse your vision and rejoice in your descent.
2. Your Father Still Loves You
The pit did not change, in any sense of the word, the love of Joseph’s father. Low places can affect our way of thinking. We must be on guard when we descend into the pit; they can become a breeding ground for doubt and disbelief. But let me assure you, your pit moment has not changed the love and affection of your Heavenly Father. The world may strip you of your colored-jacket, but you are still the apple of your Father’s eye!
3. God’s Plan Takes Time
The pit reminds us that the dream may take time. Although Joseph received the dream in one night, it would not unfold overnight. Time is God’s way of removing dross from our life. For the next 20 years, Joseph would experience disappointment, accusation, betrayal, and imprisonment. What seemed like a nightmare was actually the unfolding of a dream. Don’t be dismayed if it seems like God is not moving fast enough. Sometimes it feels like God is a “Sunday-morning” driver. In no apparent hurry, He plods down the road at His own casual pace. But let me assure you, He is in control, and He will take you to the right place. The pit reminds us that God’s plan will not always coordinate with our schedule.
4. Your Setback is God’s Setup
The pit is just part of the providential path to the palace. Quite literally, the pit is just a pit-stop. It is necessary, it is vital, it is essential. If Joseph wanted to rise up, he would have to first be cast down. This is the scriptural order. There is always groaning before glory. There is always “descension” before ascension. There is always a pit before the palace. If you are in a pit today just realize a comforting thought: God is actually setting you up.
5. Pits Serve as a Great Opportunity to Trust God
God is not only setting you up, He will eventually lift you up. But until then, pits serve as a great opportunity to trust God. Who is more capable at seeing the big picture: you or God? Who knows how to order your life better: you or God? Who knows all the surrounding details: you or God? If you are having a hard time answering those questions, let me help you –God always knows better. Therefore, the pit is a means for you to trust Him with your life.
Eventually Joseph was lifted out of the pit; and twenty years later God not only fulfilled the dream, but He saved the land of Egypt, preserved the people of Israel, restored failed relationships in Joseph’s life, and brought glory to His own name. And it all started with a pit stop.