Psalm 40:1-3, 16


“I waited patiently for the LORD;

he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the desolate pit,
out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God….

But may all who seek thee

rejoice and be glad in thee;
may those who love thy salvation
say continually, “Great is the LORD!”

The psalmist doesn’t go into detail about the conditions of his life that he chose to describe as “…the desolate pit” and “miry bog” but his language is graphic enough for us to get the picture. Things had not gone well. To be in pit and a bog is to be stuck. That’s what I hear in his words. He was stuck, trapped, hemmed in and unable to move with no firm footing. We’ve all been there. Jesus has been there. You may be there now, singing the tortured melody of a bitter lament.

For some the stuck places in life may have to do with addiction. There are few “pits” and “bogs” more debilitating than those of addiction.

Others are stuck, caught in dysfunctional, broken relationships. Hurt compounds hurt, not so much willingly but because it’s just so hard to stop the cycle.

Financial pressures mount, jobs are hard to find, health begins to fail us, grief persists, loneliness is a constant companion, an unwelcome guest; the list could go on. At times it can seem that all of life is nothing but “pits” and “bogs”.

The psalmist does not let us in on the details of what prompted his lament but he does tell us what he did about it; he waited with patience even as he cried out for help. What the mixture was of the two he does not say. I’m guessing that his cries may have seemed more constant than his patience. At least that’s how its been for me. 

The psalmist does tell us what happened in the midst of his cries for help. The Lord drew him from the pit, placed him on a firm footing and filled his mouth with a new song. Notice all the language where the psalmist is concerned is passive. God is the one who acts. It’s pure gospel.

So, from whatever “pit’ or “bog” you may be in this day, let the laments fly! Sing the bitter song at the top of your lungs! It never goes unheard. Remember your baptism, your Lord and His Cross. And just when your patience is on the brink of collapse, and you’ve got that sorry lament down cold, suddenly, up from the pit you’ll fly, landing with a thud on the path to God’s promised future! The parched lament of the blues will give way to a full-throated melody of praise and blessedness and the psalmist’s rejoicing will be yours also; “Great is the Lord!”


“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”