I’ve been thinking a lot about rough patches lately. “Rough patches” is a term I learned from a good friend years ago. He would use this phrase when he was working through something on a very personal level and didn’t want, or know how, to talk about it.
I think we can all relate to rough patches. Right? I mean it’s no secret that life is filled with ups and downs; triumphs and challenges; that sometimes things hit so hard and so deep that the words just aren’t there.
As I was thinking about this, I came across a passage in the book of Jeremiah; chapter 38 verse 6 to be exact. It reads...
“So the officials took Jeremiah from his cell and lowered him by ropes into an empty cistern in the prison yard. It belonged to Malkijah, a member of the royal family. There was no water in the cistern, but there was a thick layer of mud at the bottom, and Jeremiah sank down into it.”
Here it helps to know that Jeremiah lived a life marked by faithful obedience to his divine calling. In this part of his life, he was thrown into a pit as a means to silence him for what officials thought were treasonous words.
Oddly, this dire situation isn’t what caught my attention. What caught my attention was the first word of verse 7... “But...”
Remember, he was just thrown into an empty cistern in the middle of a prison yard. Yet, there’s no mention of Jeremiah saying a single word. Not one word.
The text doesn't dwell on his thoughts at that moment; instead, it uses the word "But" to pivot into the subsequent events.
Call me crazy (quietly, please), but I think we can draw some valuable lessons from Jeremiah’s apparent silence in this scenario. Let’s take a look:
The Power of the Pit
Jeremiah's pit serves as a profound metaphor for the challenges inherent in life. The quote I used above, "Your current circumstances don't determine how far you can go or what you can achieve. They only determine where you start," encapsulates the essence of Jeremiah's journey. Despite being confined to a pit, his response wasn't one of defeat; rather, it reflected a calm, confident commitment to fulfilling his purpose.
This piece of Jeremiah's story encourages us to view challenges as temporary fragments connected to a broader narrative. The pit becomes a symbol for difficult circumstances, reminding us that our current situation is merely a starting point, not the final destination.
By adopting a resilient mindset to look beyond immediate challenges we can transform these fragments into steppingstones that move us towards greater things.
Biblical Insights for a Resilient Mindset
I don’t know exactly what went through Jeremiah’s mind in the pit, but I do know that we have some powerful insights at our disposal to help us develop a resilient mindset.
Here are a few I found that might help...
Trust in God's Sovereignty
Scripture: Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV) - "Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight."
Insight: Acknowledge God's sovereignty over your life. Trust that He has a plan even in challenging times. Surrender your worries to Him and allow His guidance to lead you forward.
Seek God's Perspective
Scripture: Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV) - "‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the LORD. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.’"
Insight: When facing difficulties, seek God's perspective. His ways are higher, and trusting His viewpoint can provide comfort and clarity.
Focus on the Eternal
Scripture: Colossians 3:2 (NIV) - "Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things."
Insight: Keep your focus on eternal values and the bigger picture. Earthly challenges are temporary, but the promises of God are everlasting. By directing your thoughts toward heavenly things, you gain a broader perspective.
Renew Your Mind
Scripture: Romans 12:2 (NIV) - "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Insight: Regularly renew your mind through prayer, meditation on Scripture, and positive affirmations. Transforming your thinking aligns your perspective with God's will and helps you overcome the challenges.
Gratitude and Contentment
Scripture: 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NIV) - "Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus."
Insight: Cultivate a heart of gratitude. In every circumstance, find reasons to give thanks. A grateful heart shifts your focus from challenges to the blessings around you.
Endurance through Faith
Scripture: Hebrews 11:1 (NIV) - "Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see."
Insight: Develop endurance through faith. Trust that God is working behind the scenes, even when you can't see the complete picture. Faith empowers you to persevere through fragments with hope.
As we apply these insights, we discover that our current circumstances don't determine the extent of our journey or the heights we can reach. They merely dictate the starting point.
And while the starting point may be the bottom of a pit, there’s always a “but” – a shift in the narrative.
A shift orchestrated by a God who specializes in transforming pits into platforms for His glory.
Dedicated to your success,