‘Pit’ in simple language is “a large hole in the ground”. The pit is essentially below the surface of the ground and definitely not a nice place to be in!

At times in our walk with Christ we also feel we are in a pit, unable to move, feeling suffocated, feeling like while the world is happily walking with Christ we are just lagging more and more behind in our walk with God. We may feel cheated, justified at complaining and frustrated in the pit and feel like there is no hope left, nothing which can pull us out of this pit.

This pit can be anything, financial debt, drug abuse, an abusive relationship, an addiction that we cannot get free from, a reputation to live upto, peer pressure, social status, etc etc.

Many a times this pit gets overwhelming forcing people into depression and suicide. As per WHO,  “depression is a common illness worldwide, with more than 264 million people affected. When long-lasting and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school and in the family. At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. Close to 8,00,000 people die due to suicide every year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15-29-year-olds!”

But the good news is that there is hope even in the pit.

David says in Psalms 139:1 – 12, “[1] O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. [2] Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. [3] Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. [4] For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. [5] Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. [6] Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. [7] Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? [8] If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. [9] If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; [10] Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. [11] If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. [12] Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”

Hallelujah! God doesn’t leave us even if we are in the pit and He will get us out of it in His appointed time if we believe in Him and have accepted Him as our only Lord and Savior!

But the question arises what to do when you are in a pit? The Answer is simple, give Him praise!

That is what Pit Praisers do, they glorify God even in their darkest hours.

Let’s turn to the Bible and look at few Pit Praisers with a hope that they would inspire you to also become a pit praiser no matter what pit you are in.

We will first turn to the book of Jonah to meet our first pit praiser. We will read a few verses from Jonah Chapter 1, “[1]Now the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, [2] Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. [3] But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. [4] But the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. [5] Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. [7] And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is upon us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell upon Jonah. [8] Then said they unto him, Tell us, we pray thee, for whose cause this evil is upon us; What is thine occupation? and whence comest thou? what is thy country? and of what people art thou? [10] Then were the men exceedingly afraid, and said unto him, Why hast thou done this? For the men knew that he fled from the presence of the LORD, because he had told them. [11] Then said they unto him, What shall we do unto thee, that the sea may be calm unto us? for the sea wrought, and was tempestuous. [12] And he said unto them, Take me up, and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you: for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you. [15] So they took up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. [17] Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.”

God had a plan for Jonah, but Jonah was not convinced and hence he ran away from God. Not a smart move! Ultimately he landed in the belly of a great fish for 3 days and 3 nights. He was in the stomach of a big fish inside the deep ocean. To imagine that you can come out of it, appears impossible.

But Jonah did not just give up, Bible says he started praying which turned into words of praise as mentioned in Jonah 2:9, “But I will sacrifice unto thee with the voice of thanksgiving; I will pay that that I have vowed. Salvation is of the LORD.”

That prayer and praise stirred the heart of God and the impossible happened. Jonah 2:10, “And the LORD spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.”

Lord spoke and Jonah from the depths of seas was now on dry land!

 Let’s turn now to the book of Acts, chapter 16 for our next pit praisers, Paul & Silas.

Most of us would be familiar with this passage in Bible, various sermons have also been preached on it and each one of them encourage and inspire us to keep praising even when all seems lost.

But the aspect that I would want to focus on is found in verses 6 – 10, “ [6] Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, [7] After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. [8] And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. [9] And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. [10] And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.”

They were guided by the Spirit to go to Macedonia, they went there believing that God has opened doors for them there but they definitely would not have imagined that they would be beaten with stripes and put in the inner jail with their feet bound in chains!

How many times we feel the Holy Spirit prompting us to go somewhere, do something, pray for someone, visit someone, greet someone and if the outcome is not what we expected we feel hurt, offended, start doubting and eventually end up in self pity. If actually Holy Spirit did speak to us and by following Him we fall in a pit we do the obvious i.e grumble.

But look at what Paul and Silas who were dragged, brutally beaten, tied with chains thrown in the innermost prison were doing, verses  25 – 26, “[25] And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. [26] And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.”

Wow! what a specific earthquake God sent. It shook the foundations, opened the prison doors and loosened the chains! No damage whatsoever!!

We all want such earthquakes to happen to us when we are in a rut but at times miss out on doing what Jonah, Paul and Silas did…they prayed and praised!

They were worshipping when they were in the pit, not planning on worshipping when they got out of the pit (unlike many of us who try to bribe God by saying that we would do certain things IF God helps us) but they were worshipping when things did not look good.

It’s easy to cry, be depressed and feel victimized probably even feel that we deserved the pit but the good news is that God does not think that way. You are His precious child and like a loving Father it pains Him to see you in grief. He wants you to know that He is there for you and in His perfect time He will draw you out of it.

Isn’t that an assurance strong enough to get us on our knees and our hands in the air and get our tongue and heart to start praising Him for all He has done and for all He is going to do in our lives!

As we adjust to the ‘new normal’ it is essential that we do not just restrict ourselves to be ‘Sunday Christians’ or ‘Christmas Christians’ or even ‘Praise only when happy Christians’ but we need to be ‘No matter what I will keep praising Christians’.

We need to be Pit Praisers!

God Bless You!

Your Brother in Christ

Nikunj