At times life can seem like a sticky, muddy pit; it’s like you’re trapped in an endless cycle of get up – go do this stuff – go back home – repeat, repeat and REPEAT!
This is the condition of the Psalmist in the “pit of despair”. The “mud and mire” of Psalms 40 reminds one of what’s left after a Tsunami wave has washed away everything. Where once there was a thriving coastline community, now there is just silt and slime; all is broken and bogged together.
But the Psalm-writer said when he was in a condition like that he waited patiently for the LORD’s help. The Hebrew phrase “waited patiently” is based on a word which has various meanings, one of which is “to bind”. This word suggests a picture of one sitting and weaving or twisting strands of twine or string into a rope. “Binding-together” is also a picture of prayer; what’s bound together is you and God’s-will.
Waiting is not easy!
· just check-in with someone sitting in a hospital waiting room
a parent waiting for that kid to come home
or a Krone’s disease sufferer waiting for that wave of nausea to pass
But, to “wait-patiently” is to bind yourself to God’s outcome.
That sounds a little too stoic, like the brave little bird facing the big wind and driving rain of a storm. That, my friend, is not me! I’ve got to have more to hold onto than just – be patient…it’s ok….there, there….you’ll feel better soon.
So, what DO we have?
What we have is resurrection! The Psalmist proclaimed that the LORD had set his feet on solid ground and steadied him. He set my feet…and steadied me are words that remind us of resurrection. To “set” is to align the course. To be “steadied” is to keep the vertical posture.
Combined with the miry pit (death) is the new song of standing-up and moving out confidently (resurrection).
A really old song made popular by Frank Sinatra has a “never give up” theme, expressed in this line about what to do when life throws you in the pits:
Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, start all over again
I really like the positive way this is expressed, but here’s the way I would rewrite the lyrics using Psalms 40:
I found myself trapped in a dead-end, barren wasteland of a life and decided to bind myself to God’s solution, no matter what He might choose. I stayed close to Him, and He picked me up, dusted me off and got me going again!
Connect the dots
When life has you in the miry pits you can just do the hand-wringing thing, or you can do the life-weaving thing…pray…bind your life and will to whatever God’s cooking-up for your future.