There are days when we seem to be caught in the fog of life. Dreariness shadows our every move. Directional signals telling us which way to turn in our present situations allude us. So we wander aimlessly and fall head first into the darkness of the pit, the pit of despair.
Walls seem to close in on us. We grope around trying to get our bearings. The surface of the walls feels rough and jagged. One false move and we scrape ourselves. Fear and anxiety begin to engulf us. A beam of light shining from above is the only thing visible. The only way out is to make it to the top. But how?
Have you ever been one of those “pit people”. Maybe you have fallen into that pit so many times that now it has become the norm, a familiar place to dwell. We begin decorating the walls with pictures throwing a bit of color here and there. We decide to move in furniture just to make it cozy. We rename our circumstances as “pit living”.
We become accustom to the shame we feel as we allow others to define who we are. “Pit person” becomes our label, the label that keeps us trapped in a situation that is detrimental to our well-being?
Joseph in Scripture did not fall into the pit but was actually tossed in by family members. “So when Joseph came to his brothers, they stripped him of his robe—the richly ornamented robe he was wearing—and they took him and threw him into the cistern. Now the cistern was empty; there was no water in it.” Genesis 37:23-24
According to Scripture, the brothers then sat down and ate. Joseph was probably crying out for help while standing in a cold, damp cistern alone. He had no robe to protect him from the elements.
Thoughts must have mounted up in him. A sense of betrayal must have been high on his list as he recalls their mocking words. “Here comes the dreamer!” (Genesis 37:39)
How was he going to get out without help? Would a ferocious animal jump into the pit and attack him? Would he eventually die for lack of water and food? How dare his brothers plot to kill him? Despair and anger must have filled his mind.
There must have been a sense of relief when he was eventually lifted out. The relief did not last long when he was sold to foreigners and taken to a land where he did not know the language.
In Egypt Joseph made the best of his circumstances, remained faithful to God, and rose to a position in Potiphar’s house. In spite of his integrity, false accusations arose from Potiphar’s wife and once again Joseph was ordered into a pit of sorts for a longer period of time. This time others tried to place shame on him by blaming him for false charges.
While in prison, he served faithfully those that were there. He did not allow his circumstances to bring him to despair. There must have been moments of doubt as Joseph thought about the betrayals and false accusations. There must have been grief over the loss of home and family. Although it was out of Joseph’s control to physically get out of the pit, he mentally chose not to accept “pit living”. He chose to move into “victorious living” praising God in the midst of trouble. God provided a way out and raised Joseph to a high position in the kingdom.
Each one of us has the same choice. Is it going to be “pit living” full of shame and despair or “victorious living” praising our faithful God who never forsakes us?
The choice is yours!
By Paula Silva
© 2010 FOCUS Ministries, Inc. , FOCUS Newsletter July-August