Trapped in Difficult Circumstances? – Don’t Lose Hope!
Have you become weary with praying to God asking Him to change your situation? Do you feel frightened, and forsaken? If you are honest, do you feel forgotten by God as well as others? Are you fed up of people telling you to trust in God and are you struggling with doubt? You may have become tired trying to quote promises from the Bible when asking God to change your unbearable situation. Are you feeling guilty that you are questioning the goodness of God? Do you wonder if you have done something wrong that has disqualified you from the answer you so absolutely need?
You may feel like you are the only person who is facing this level of difficulty. However, many people have felt trapped in a pit with no way out.
John the Baptist had been months in a dark dungeon. Herod had arrested him and imprisoned him in Machaerus when John had condemned the king for marrying Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Machaerus was a grim fortress in a hot, desolate desert just north of the Dead Sea. The prison cell was a dark pit. John lived in the fresh air and wide-open spaces for most of his life. Here, alone, he faced an uncertain future at the hands of a monstrous ruler who wanted to kill him.
2 Now when John heard in the prison the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples 3 and said to him, “Are you he who comes, or should we look for another?” 4 Jesus answered them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: 5 the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. 6 Blessed is he who finds no occasion for stumbling in me.”Matthew 11:2-6
John had lived in the right way, and he had done well. He had proclaimed that Jesus was the Messiah. Despite all his faithfulness and hard work, he was rotting in this horrible place. The irony of the situation was that Jesus is the Messiah. Indeed the Messiah came to set the captive free (Isaiah 61:1)1 1 The Lord Yahweh’s Spirit is on me, because Yahweh has anointed me to preach good news to the humble. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and release to those who are bound,. Jesus was close family since their mothers were cousins. Why would not a member of the family help when John was in such difficulty if He had the power to do so?
John was not the only godly man who ended up in a dark, stinking pit. Joseph had gone to help his brothers in obedience to Jacob, his father. They threw him into a dry pit and then sold him into slavery. His situation went from bad to worse, and he ended up being a slave to the prisoners in Pharaoh’s prison (Genesis 37:24)2 24 and they took him, and threw him into the pit. The pit was empty. There was no water in it.. Jeremiah faithfully warned the Israelites of God’s coming judgement. His reward was a mud-filled pit (Jeremiah 38:6)36 Then they took Jeremiah and threw him into the dungeon of Malchijah the king’s son, that was in the court of the guard. They let down Jeremiah with cords. In the dungeon there was no water, but mire; and Jeremiah sank in the mire.. Daniel spent his entire life obeying God and found himself in a den full of lions (Daniel 6:16)4 16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you serve continually, he will deliver you.”.
The Pit Survival Guide
Recognise that you are in good company in the mire and the darkness. As we have noted, many godly people had horrible pit experiences.
Most often, godly people do not end up in the pit because they got it wrong, but because they were doing what was right. Even if you have messed up there is forgiveness so don’t beat yourself up or keep finding fault (1 John 1:8-9)5 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us the sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. .
There is a way out of the pit. There are two possibilities. The first is that the things you fear will not happen and the second is that the things you fear will happen. In both cases, your time in the pit will end.
Whatever the outcome God will work this for your good (Romans 8:28)6 28 We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose..
John sent his disciples to hear what Jesus had to say. We have a reliable record of what God says in the Bible. We need to read the Bible for ourselves in difficult situations because this is the perfect guide. The opinions and ‘prophecies’ of men are unreliable no matter what their reputation is.
God is probably not going to work in the situation in the way we expect (Isaiah 55:8-9)7 8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” says Yahweh. 9 “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.. Jesus could have busted John out of prison, but this would have meant that Jesus established His kingdom by force. He would not have died, and we would not be saved.
God has not abandoned us (Hebrews 13:5)8 5 Be free from the love of money, content with such things as you have, for he has said, “I will in no way leave you, neither will I in any way forsake you.”.
Nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39)9 38 For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing will be able to separate us from God’s love which is in Christ Jesus our Lord..
It is OK to feel bad and to have doubts. It is the godly in the Bible who have doubts far more often than the wicked. Jesus took the time to respond to John’s doubts. The important thing is not to give in to the doubt.
Blessed are those who do not stumble. Stumbling refers to a trap and the part of the trap that was the trigger. We need not let the severity of the situation ensnare us into casting away our confidence in God. Job was determined to remain confident even if the worst happened (Job 13:15)10 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;(NIV).
I am so sorry you are facing such difficulties and trial. There will be a life after this. The terrible time you are facing will produce something rich and good for you (Hebrews 12:11)11 11 All chastening seems for the present to be not joyous but grievous; yet afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it..
God promised difficulties (John 16:33)12 In the world you have trouble; but cheer up! I have overcome the world.”. Challenging circumstances are not difficult if we have the answers and don’t feel the pain of trouble.
God has promised to deliver us out of trouble at the time He chooses. Often this is later than we would want (Psalm 34:19)13 19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but Yahweh delivers him out of them all..
There is not one person who has followed God that He has ever let down (Psalm 37:25)14 25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his children begging for bread.. That does not mean things went the way people wanted. The end of the situation worked out far better for those who followed God than they imagined.
Sometimes God brings new life out of death. He works by resurrection power. Sometimes our plans, hopes and dreams crash and burn yet God brings new life and power from this (Philippians 3:10)1510 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed to his death, 11 if by any means I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.. We sometimes fellowship with Christ in His sufferings that we might also share in His resurrection.
- How can we look after ourselves when facing major difficulties in our lives?
- How can we help others who are facing disaster and great suffering?
- Can you share what happened if you have come through a pit experience in your life?