They come with bleeding hearts. They come ravaged by circumstances. They come as victims of abuse, of acrimony, or of just plain apathy. They’ve been manipulated by fanatics, married to narcissists, violated by sociopaths. They come having grown up in happy, loving homes, dysfunctional homes, and abusive homes. They come anxious, depressed, traumatized, and sometimes even dissociative and delusional.
They are counseling clients.
And they’re some of the most impressive people I’ve ever met. Because they fight. They fight hard enough to seek out help and pay for it. They struggle mightily to make it out of their various pits. I don’t do the fighting; I toss them the tools. A rope. A stick. A machete. They’re the ones emerging from the hole, beating down their demons, and slicing through the underbrush of their damaged souls and tangled histories. I’m so proud of them.
I’m the one who gets to hear them come forth with a new song in their mouths. I see them avail themselves of God’s mighty power to change the course of history from the momentum of the past sucking their feet back into the mire to a new direction that places them upon the solid foundation of Jesus and His healing love. I do this work for a living, but I should really pay them for the privilege.
Imagine yourself in a pit. You dug the pit yourself, then fell into it and now can’t escape. God comes to the pit, looks down to see you, jumps into the pit with you, and struggles to the edge alongside you. Then he takes you to a solid rock. The two of you sit down on the rock and discuss how you can live so as not to fall into any more pits. Then God teaches you a song, which you sing together. Fix your mind on these images of God helping you rise, stabilizing you, and giving you pure, sweet, joy.
Dear God, You don’t deserve the pit and we don’t deserve Your help. But because You are a being of utter generosity, and because you don’t hold our sins against us, we sit with you on a solid rock where you daily establish our steps. Praise You, God! Amen and amen.
“I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—praise to our God. Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord.” Psalm 40:1-3