At Wits' End

January 28, 2018
by Lori Ciccanti

One of my most difficult challenges was raising a son with autism. Many times, I was at my wits' end.

Psalm 107:27-31 – They reeled and staggered like drunken men; they were at their wits' end. Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven. Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men. (NIV)

Until recently, I was unaware that the expression, "at wits' end" originated in the Bible. It literally means to "have wisdom swallowed up." This type of "wisdom" is worldly and lacking direction from the Holy Spirit. In Psalm 107, the sailors "reeled and staggered" in vain. They were like drunken men trying desperately to fix the problem on their own.

But notice four things that happened when the sailors finally cried out to the Lord:

    1. He brought them out of their distress.
    2. He calmed the storm.
    3. He restored their gladness.
    4. He brought them to a safe harbour.

Although the Scripture portrays a true-to-life storm at sea, this place called "at wits' end" represents many types of situations such as illness, financial problems, the loss of a loved one, etc. In raising my son, there were times when I chose to dismiss the world's advice, seeking the Holy Spirit's guidance instead. I can honestly say that He has never failed in helping me to make the best decisions for my child.

In Jeremiah 33:3, the Lord tells us, "Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know." (NIV) What a wonderful promise for those who believe!

The New Testament reveals that Jesus is the power and wisdom of God. He will deliver us from the deep waters that threaten our soul, or from the miry depths of a hopeless spirit. What is more, He will provide peace, even in the midst of a storm.

In 2 Corinthians 12:8-9, the apostle Paul writes about his thorn in the flesh, "Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me." (NIV)

Be assured that the Lord's wisdom can never be swallowed up. So then, why wait till we're at our wits' end before seeking His counsel?

Prayer: Heavenly Father, we praise You for the wisdom revealed in Your Son, like a light shining in a dark place. We humbly ask You to guide us safely through the storms of life by the power of Your Holy Spirit. May our faith be a testimony that leads others into Messiah's kingdom. In Jesus' precious name, we pray. Amen.

About the author:

Lori Ciccanti <dlalsina@mchsi.com>
Ocean View, Delaware, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Amen Lori, well done!


    An encouraging word, Lori.


    I loved your devotional and the new understanding you offered concerning ‘at wits’ end.’ Thank you and God bless.


    Thank you, Lori, for sharing this touching devotional with us. Praying for you guys. How are things going with you these days? Blessings.


    Lori,
    Thanks for your loving care of your son as his mother.
    (CA)


    What a fascinating and inspiring story. I did not know the origin of that phrase either.
    I will keep this to read in times of discouragement.
    Thank you.


    That is so true. I usually wait until I am at my wits’ end and it isn’t until I totally lose it, that I ask God for His help. I should be asking before I lose it, as you say. Thank you for your reminder. I hope I will remember to call upon the name of the Lord first!


    Lori, like you I never knew that “wits’ end” came from the Bible.
    Thank you so much for using it in your devotional and telling us where we could find it. God continues to amaze me each day. Today, here, reminds me in January that spring is coming – we just have to trust God and be patient.
    May God continue to bless you.


    Dear Lori
    It was so good to hear from you again, especially when I needed your message.
    My apartment building has been sold and we are being threatened with huge rent increases. I am trying to stay calm and in the Holy Spirit. When talking to my family, they sympathized but a neighbour, that I only know to say Hi to, offered a place to live.
    It may not come to this. It was the offer that brought true calmness (and I believe this was the Holy Spirit).
    Thank you for your wonderful message. I hope you and Lou and your family are doing very well. I think of you often.

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