AT YOUR WIT’S END
By Elder Larry Wise
We have heard the expression “I am at my wit’s end” which is used by those who have attempted to solve some pressing problem and have been unsuccessful. They have tried everything, but none of it has worked and they are “at their wit’s end.”
That expression is found in the scripture in Psalms 107:27 which states, “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wit’s end.” The scene depicted is one in which the sovereign God is in command of the stormy wind and accompanying waves which rise up and down under the direction of the mighty wind. The occupants of the ship in the midst of the storm go up and down with the storm as it is tossed to and fro. They are distressed under this stormy assault and “their soul is melted because of trouble” and are “at their wit’s end.” It is only when they are at that point that they call upon the Lord. “Then they cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he bringeth them out of their distresses. He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” (Psalm 107:28-29). They rejoice as the stormy waves cease their raging activity.
Who controls the stormy waves and is able to say “peace be still” and everything be calm? It is the Lord Jesus Himself who stilled the waves as the disciples were tossed about in the midst of the storm. We sometimes are guilty of trying everything to solve our problems rather than first taking our case to the Lord. Parents have been guilty of trying to discipline their children and the children keep right on repeating the same offense. They are exasperated and are “at their wit’s end.” Christians have had trouble in the workplace in getting along with their coworkers; they may have tried everything to resolve the conflict but failure has been the result and they are “at their wit’s end.” These parents and Christians would have been better served had they asked the Lord for strength and guidance at the inception of the problem rather than wait until they are “at their wit’s end.”
The expression “at their wit’s end” literally means to “have wisdom swallowed up.” We know that God’s wisdom is not swallowed up but is always successful when used under the direction of the Holy Spirit. It is man’s earthly wisdom that is swallowed up. Paul preached Jesus and Him crucified not with enticing words of man’s wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and power. He spoke the wisdom of God and with the wisdom of God. Our wisdom will not see us through any storm of life because it comes from within. The heavenly wisdom is “…peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17).
We sometimes forget to look to the One who controls the wind when the storm ensues in our life. The ship’s captain and crew may have navigated through many storms before using the wisdom and skill they possessed. However, this storm is unique, and all their wisdom and skill in steering the ship is useless in this calamity. Their help must come from a higher source than themselves. Psalms 121:1-2 tells us, “I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.” When we “reel to and fro” in the midst of the storm, we just “dance around in a circle” and never get anywhere; we meet ourselves coming back. We reel to and fro because we aren’t looking up. We stagger (waver, wander about) like a drunken man. A drunken man doesn’t know which way to go and can wander into the ditch.
Do we believe that the Lord will get us through the storm? If we don’t, then we reside in unbelief. It would be much better to be like Abraham who the scripture describes in Rom. 4:20-21, “He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, He was able to perform.” God has promised us safe passage through the storm but not necessarily smooth sailing. The promise is still secure; however, that declares, “When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” (Isa. 43:2).
Are you at your wit’s end? We should never wait until we are “at our wit’s end” to begin to call upon the Lord. The truth is that if we practiced what the scriptures teach, we would “never” arrive at the point of being at our wit’s end. Thanks be to God, however, that the God of mercy has eyes that are still over the righteous and His ears are open unto their cries. May we all take comfort with the Psalmist who informs us, “Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)