I felt the need (and prompting) to review my “life passage.” Over forty years ago, as a new follower of Jesus, I read Psalm 40. Almost immediately, without much effort, I memorized verses 1-3. I identified with the message in those three verses. I still do.
“1. I waited patiently for the Lord;
And He inclined to me,
and heard my cry
2. He brought me up out of the pit of destruction,
out of the miry clay;
And He set my feet upon a rock
making my footsteps firm.
3. And He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God;
Many will see and fear,
And will trust in the Lord.”
Verse 1 described my life. I had waited patiently, not even knowing what I was waiting for, and then God answered the unvoiced cries of my heart. Verse 2 continues the description of my life. My life was full of pits of destruction and I was held captive by the grip that insecurity, depression, and untreated mental illness had on me.
After Jesus reached into my heart through the love and words of several people, I was able to get out of the quagmire and stop sinking. The rock my feet were placed on was not without its own hazards, but at least I could move.
Something about miry clay: it’s on the path and is usually visible BEFORE stepping in it. The picture in my mind has my boots being stuck in it. The way to get out is to leave the boots behind and keep moving as quickly as possible to avoid being trapped again. When my daughter was very young (maybe 3 or 4), she ventured onto the neighboring construction site. She didn’t keep her eyes on the path her older brother was taking through the muddy excavation. She chose her own way, which took her off the boards that made a relatively safe path. Our son bursts into the house, tracking mud on his way, excitedly trying to tell us something. It turned out our daughter was stuck in the mud and refusing to leave the boots behind.
Unfortunately, I’ve seen the mire on either side of the safe path and I sometimes choose to step in it anyway. I tend to think it will be different “this time.” My insecurities and depressive episodes flood my mind and I am caught back up in the clay. Unlike my daughter, I’ve become willing to leave the boots behind, and have found my way out of the mud. It’s not always easy. I can’t do it on my own. It’s God inclining His ear to me and hearing my cries and His putting my feet back on the rocks giving me firm places to continue moving forward.
Finally in verse 3, it tells me what has happened to me. God has put a new song in my mouth, He has taught me to praise Him, and He’s given me a purpose for persevering. My overall goal as I continue to move forward is to sing praises loud enough that others will see and fear, and ultimately, trust in the Lord.
I love remembering what I was like and how God has lifted me up, and changed my life. This is why I revisit Psalm 40:1-3 often.