I called on your name, Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my plea: “Do not close your ears to my cry for relief.” You came near when I called you, and you said, “Do not fear.” (Lamentations 3:55-57)
During his lifetime, Jeremiah (the writer of Lamentations) was terribly mistreated by the people among whom he had been sent to preach. The people of Judah were so intolerant of God’s message to them, that they threw Jeremiah into a deep cistern (Jeremiah 38). Perhaps that event was what Jeremiah was writing about in the passage above. However, the original language need not be interpreted that literally.
As one commentator stated, the “pit” mentioned by Jeremiah could refer to any of the deepest distresses people could be in. Whether that pit is literal, relational, spiritual, physical, or emotional – from even there – we can call upon the Lord.
I chose to write about this passage because I love the truths we learn about God in it. When we cry out to God from the lowest of lows, we can expect several things from Him. First, the text states that God hears. While that may seem obvious as we read these words in the light, our tendency is to doubt that truth when things get dark – i.e., when we’re in the pit.
Next, we see that the loving God of the universe comes near to us when we’re broken and defeated. While others may flee during such times, God comes near. Listen to what God said through Isaiah…“I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite” (Isaiah 57:15). God makes His home among the lowly – He is near to us when we’re down.
Because God hears us in our distress, and makes His home near during such times, we need not fear.
In the pits? Don’t fear. Instead, cry out to Him knowing that He hears, He cares, and He is very near. –Dave
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