Psalm[40:1] I waited patiently for the LORD;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.

[2] He drew me up from the pit of destruction,

out of the miry bog,

and set my feet upon a rock,

making my steps secure.

[3] He put a new song in my mouth,

a song of praise to our God.

Many will see and fear,

and put their trust in the LORD.

Note that while David is waiting patiently on the LORD he is not doing nothing. He is crying out to the Lord for help. Waiting does not mean that we do nothing. Prayer for help is work.

We call out to God in our times of desperation but if we will remember that without Him we can do nothing then we will truly know that we are always in a desperate situation. There is never a time when we do not need Him and when it is inappropriate to call out to him for help. The problem with pits is that we do not always realize when we are in one. If we think something is manageable then we feel safe and our prayer life suffers. If we got up this morning not knowing what we were going to eat it would effect how we say grace once we found some food. But in the west we think the refrigerator is a guarantee that we are going to be fed today. The grocery store down the street, the bank machine on the corner, the cheque that gets deposited on a regular basis.

This is idolatry. We trust the gift more than the Giver. We ought not to need an insurmountable problem in order to help us pray better. Or better yet, we ought to realize that life is always an insurmountable problem and we are in constant need of God’s guidance and wisdom and help. We are never in control and we are never outside of the care of our loving God.

David found himself in a pit of some kind and that is true of many of us much of the time as well. God is not ignorant of the crises and He was not taken by surprise when it arrived. We should remember that He is as much at work in this for our good and His glory as He is at those times when all is going well. It will help with how we cope with the crises, whether it is serious or small. And all the while we should cry out to Him. It is not wasted effort.

What we often need in the calamities that assault us is a new song in our hearts, and that is what God delivers to us (verse 3). He will help us see how good He has been to us even in the midst of the trouble (verses 4-5). He will enable us to know that we can be at worship even when life is upside down (verse 6-8). And we will be able to speak of the loving power of God to others (verse 9). And all this while the troubles continue to plague us (verse 12). Deliverance from our problems should certainly be a part of our prayers (verses 13-15). But no matter what happens we should stay close to Him (verses 16-17).

It is the God of great grace who can enable us to respond to a very hard life in such a manner. May your life demonstrate it today.