And they said unto Moses, Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness? wherefore hast thou dealt thus with us, to carry us forth out of Egypt? (Exodus 14:11)
Being in the belly of a great fish, was certainly a dismal circumstance, so much so it caused Jonah to cry before God “I am cast out of thy sight” (Jonah 2:4).
Jeremiah lamented “He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, but not into light.” (Lamentations 3:2)
Psalm 31:22 is an insightful verse. David felt so alone, he was sure even God didn’t notice him: “…I am cut off from before thine eyes…” Interestingly, that statement of honest feeling is bracket by two other statements. First, “For I said in my haste…” David realized what he was feeling, wasn’t the true reality. In retrospect, he confessed he spoken “in my haste”. Then, “…nevertheless thou heardest the voice of my supplications when I cried unto thee.” Even in the midst of a dark heart, David knew God WAS paying attention. The Creator was listening.
In chapter seven of his prophecy, Micah was overcome by the moral emptiness of his culture. “Woe is me…” “The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men.” “The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge…” “For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother…” “they hunt every man his brother with a net…” His advice was “Trust ye not in a friend…” and his only hope was in God: “I will wait for the God of my salvation.”
One theme that emerges from those who faced dismal circumstances and a culture bereft of any goodness was that they all focused on God. Some way or another, they found a way to cast their gaze towards heaven’s Glory.
Charles Hadden Spurgeon advised:
Are you unable to sing the Lord's praises? Are there no mercies that you have experienced? Although you're gloomy now, can you forget that blessed hour when Jesus met you, and said, "Come unto me"? Can you remember that wonderful moment when He snapped your chains, dashed them to the earth, and said, "I came to break your bonds and set you free"?
Surely there are memorials along the way that haven't yet become overgrown with moss; let them remind you of His mercy toward you. Did you ever have a sickness like the one you have now? Didn't He restore you? Wasn't He with you? Were you ever poor before, and didn't He supply what you needed? Were you never in dire straights before, and didn't He deliver you?
Arise, go to the river of your experience, and pull up a few bulrushes, and let them become lining in the tiny boat in which your infant-faith may float safely on the stream. Don't forget what your God has done for you. Has the Lord never met with you on the mountain? Have you never been helped in time of need? No, I know you have. Go back, then, a little way to the choice mercies of yesterday, and though all may be dark now, light up the lamps of the past, they will shine through the darkness, and you will trust in the Lord until the new day breaks and the shadows flee away.
Can you find a way to get your focus on God? You had better, it may be the only way to survive your own present dismal circumstances.