Getting Out of the Miry Clay

Getting Out of the Miry Clay

George BloomerBy George Bloomer7 Minutes

When you meet some folks, they can’t stop talking about how rough they’ve had it in life. Like a bad country ballad from Nashville, they’re continually singing about “Somebody’s done me wrong.”

Whenever I encounter people who have this “woe is me” mentality, I want to tell them, “Well, join the club, brother! Welcome to the human race!”

You see, we’ve all gone through some stuff, and we’ll inevitably go through some additional stuff at some point in the future. While we might envy others who seem to have an easy, carefree life, usually that image is only an illusion. No matter what side of town people grow up on or how rich they may be, our Lord told us that storms come to everyone’s life from time to time (Matthew 5:45).

Breaking Free

I could write entire books about the hard times I experienced as a kid. I grew up in deep poverty, living in a government-subsidized housing project in Brooklyn, New York.

It was a tough place to live, and my early education was a cruel joke. I went to school each day to get the free breakfast and lunch, and then left to smoke cigarettes or pot with my friends. I finally found myself in high school and unable to read—and I’m embarrassed to admit that I still couldn’t read until I reached my mid-30s.

Perhaps you can’t relate to these experiences. In fact, I hope you can’t relate. But suffice it to say, the ghetto is a strange place to grow up. In some ways, it’s not much different than a concentration camp, locked in a world filled with poverty, hopelessness, and despair.

My mother raised my sister and me on welfare, and I saw firsthand how difficult it is to break free from that kind of culture. Countless people are still locked in the entitlement trap—the deadly myth that someone owes you something you don’t have to work for.

The good news is that none of us is automatically stuck with the kind of situation we’ve inherited. It may be more difficult to break free if life has dealt you a difficult hand, yet there’s no pit so deep that God can’t get you out.

What Pit Are YOU In?

Drug addicts, criminals, and homeless folks certainly aren’t the only ones who can find themselves stuck. Sometimes even godly people “like King David” must cry out to God for deliverance:

I waited patiently for the Lord; And He inclined to me, And heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, And set my feet upon a rock, And established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; Many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord (Psalm 40:1-3).

Perhaps you’re facing distressing circumstances in your life today. Whether because of your own foolish choices or situations beyond your control, you’ve found yourself in “a horrible pit” filled with “miry clay.”

If so, you can be encouraged by how God delivered David from the unpleasant “pit stop” he was experiencing. David gained stability and freedom when his feet were placed on a solid rock. And instead of the dreary ballad he probably had been singing, the Lord gave him “a new song” filled with thanksgiving and praise.

Getting Out of the Ditch

If you can’t relate to being stuck in a pit filled with slimy clay or quicksand, perhaps The Message paraphrase offers a clearer picture of your situation:He lifted me out of the ditch, pulled me from deep mud.”

Isn’t it good to know that God can lift you out of a ditch and pull you out of the mud? Of course, the longer you’ve been stuck in a situation like that, the harder it usually is to break free—mostly because we’ve become entrenched in a mindset of failure and futility.

Perhaps a word picture will help you understand why this is true…

If you attach a baby elephant to a stake in the ground, it soon learns that it’s not strong enough to break free. As the years go by and the elephant grows bigger, he is easily powerful enough to pull the stake out of the ground, yet he never does. Why? Because he’s been conditioned over time to think he’s not capable of that.

How sad. Yet many people who grow up in dysfunctional family situations are a lot like the elephant who doesn’t realize he can break loose from the stake that holds him captive. Freedom is now possible, but it takes courage to step out and break the invisible chains that still hold them captive.

By God’s grace and lots of hard work, I’m happy to report that I’ve broken free from the bondage that once threatened to become my destiny. I’m convinced you can break free as well. You truly can do all things through Christ who strengthens you (Philippians 4:13)—and that means you can leave the miry clay behind.

He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, Out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. Psalm 40:2