According to Dave Shive, author of Night Shift, "One who enters the pit cross the threshold to 'God's tuf.' This entrance sets in motion a cycle of events and activities designed to transform proud, unbroken, and essentially useless people into vibrant servants of Christ who have a new song on their lips, a message to proclaim, and a usefulness in making an impact for the Kingdom."
He goes on to discuss this transformational process as a series of seven stages:
- The Pit. The awful place of brokenness where the testing begins.
- The Wait. The usually long period of time spent waiting, often without understanding, for God to make His divine plan clear.
- The Cry. The desperate prayer for relief from waiting in the pit.
- The Answer. God's reply as He reveals the message that is to be the focal point of the person's future ministry.
- The Deliverance. Liberation from the pit, "in God's way, God's timing, and for God's purpose."
- The New Song. The music inspired by spiritual, emotional and physical freedom from earthly (materialistic) things, with a newfound focus on God's purpose.
- The Impact. The fruits that manifest as a result of allowing the season of suffering to serve its purpose.
I have survived the first five stages and am somewhere in stage six. I wish I'd found this book sooner, as it would surely have made the first four stages more bearable. But then, perhaps that's the point. If I hadn't gone through then, I probably wouldn't be here now. I'm scared, but also excited, to see how God plans to use me.