I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out of the mud and the mire. He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me as I walked along. He has given me a new song to sing, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:1-3 NLT)
A pit starts as a small depression, but because of the continued "traveling" over the same place of the small depression, the size of the depression increases. Ever wonder why someone coined the phrase of being in the pits when they feel a little depressed? Maybe that explains it! Some pits are of our own digging - outright deliberate actions taken by us to start the work of digging the pit. Other pits are because we didn't really notice we were getting deeper and deeper into something - it caught us unaware. Still others come because someone else digs them, either as a means of capturing us or because they intended our doom!
If we examine the first type - those we dig because of some deliberate action on our part - we might just see the pit was dug because we desired to hide from someone or something. In the military, they taught us to dig pits in order to get shelter from enemy fire - to hide from the attack all around us. These fox-holes, as they were named, were not only protection, they were successful hiding places. We could "mask" our presence and honker down for the duration of the fight. Many a military man or woman will tell us just how frequently "hiding" in these holes didn't actually preserve life, for the same hole they dug for protection became the hole where they died. We might plan one thing, but realize quite a different thing!
The second type of pit is actually the pit that occurs when we don't take notice of our actions. The continually ruminating over some issue or returning to some sinful pattern repeatedly actually creates an indentation of sorts in our spiritual, mental, or physical life. That indentation becomes more and more pronounced the more we ruminate over the issue or return to the patterned behavior time and time again. One day we realize the indentation is now a huge pit of what some label as despair or depravity. There is a sense of hopelessness that prevails because we don't know how we got there and we don't know a way out. In truth, when we examine the things we have been thinking on (meditating on) in our minds, we begin to see the way the walls of this pit were dug!
The last type of pit is really not of our doing - but it is definitely meant for our undoing. Others dig this pit - it is meant as an outright trap to ensnare us and hold us captive. In times gone by, a hunter might dig a pit to catch some large animal just out for a walk in the forest. The pit was big enough to capture the animal, but also big enough to keep it there! The one who digs a pit for us isn't doing so to just put an obstacle in our path - it is intended to keep us there until we are so weak and overcome by the fight to be free that we just give up fighting any longer!
Either way, the pits are definitely not our friends! Any pit can become the place of our "captivity". What we do in the midst of the pit makes all the difference - for in looking up, crying out, and being expectant for deliverance, we posture ourselves for the escape we so desperately need. The way out of the pit isn't because we make the ladder - it is because he lifts us out! It is his doing - our posture in the pit is that of humble submission to his hand and his delivering strength. Just sayin!