The Place Called Wits’ End

Psalm 107:27, They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end.  KJV

It’s kind of funny to find such a common phrase in such old writings.  The writer of this Psalm refers to this massive storm that is experienced out at sea and compares it to the troubles that we may have in this life. He calls it “wits end.”  Most of us thought that only our kids could take us to wits’ end!  Apparently, it’s not just our kids that can take us to such a place.

The dictionary defines at wits’ end as a place where you are very upset, or at the limits of one’s emotional or mental limitations.

As Christians, when you think about storms in your life, I bet you don’t think about thunderstorms or snowstorms. You probably think about dealing with a difficult or broken relationship, going through a financial crisis, unpleasant or painful health problems, the death of someone you love, being laid off from your job, or possibly dealing with rebellious children.

Sometime in our lives we are all going to face these kinds of storms.

In this Psalm, The scene here changes repeatedly. The Psalmist turns from those that wander in the desert, from those who are in prison, from those who are sick, to those who encounter the perils of the sea.

Here in this place called wits’ end, you have all the problems of the storm and the sea. If you have never been there before, then you might not ever know about the ups and downs that can occur.  The struggles of trying to stand when everything else is moving.  My thought here is about being tested when the waters are rough or when problems come. You realize that everyone has problems from time to time.

It was Mark Twain that said, “The only people I have ever known to have no problems are in the cemetery.” The more problems you have, the more alive you are.

There was a gardener that took great pride in caring for his lawn. But one year it grew full of dandelions. He tried every method and product to get rid of them, but nothing worked. Exasperated, he wrote the Department of Agriculture explaining all he had done. “What shall I try next?” he wrote. “Try getting used to them,” came the reply.

Here is what I have learned in this study.  “And are at their wits’ end”, the original Hebrew suggests, “All their wisdom is swallowed up.” This means that, they have no skill to guide the vessel. All that has been done by the wisdom of naval design in erecting it, and all that has been derived from experience in navigating the ocean, seems now to be useless. They are at the mercy of the winds and waves; they are dependent completely on God; they can now only cry to him to save them. Often this dependence on God, occurs in a storm at sea, when the most skillful and experienced seaman feels that he can do no more.  You need to understand that you can never gain experience without going through some storms.

There is an English proverb that says, “A smooth sea never made a skillful mariner.”

So, there is some good that comes from these rough seas and storms.  And the storms we face in our lives maybe are meant for some greater good.  And when we come to this place where everything is coming against us, we can look to God, He will see us through.  This is the place where we can no longer steer the ship.  The place we call “Wits’ End”, is the place where we learn to trust God!

3 thoughts on “The Place Called Wits’ End”

  1. When storms come my way I’m learning that grabbing hold of God’s hand, giving that storm to Him and just praising Him through the the storm works. Sometimes He gives me a song that let’s me know He’s got this..but most of all He gives me peace.

  2. WITS END WAS ONE OF YOUR GREAT GRANDMOTHERS FAVORITE SAYINGS I THINK SHE GOT THERE BECAUSE OF HER RUFFINGS AS SHE CALLED HER SEVEN BOYS

  3. I agree Bishop. The storms do teach us….they teach us to trust Jesus completely, not to rely solely on our own “wits” but trust the wisdom of God. They also teach us to know the One who can truly calm the storm! We so foolishly at times use man’s wisdom to try to make it through when all along Jesus is standing near by just waiting for us to call out His name. Oh how I love my Jesus! He is the Captain of my ship in and out of life’s storms. He is faithful and worthy to be praised.

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