Out of the Depths
Lord God, You are holy and ever to be worshiped. You are glorious in name and reputation. All praise to You.
Consider: Many things can plunge us into the "depths" (1). Crushing disappointment, tragic bereavement, moral failure and physical pain can lead us to the depths of life.
How do you pray in times of acute grief? What do you say when words barely touch the fringes of your anguish? Psalm 130 is a profoundly moving cry of pain amid desperate suffering. It is also a powerful testimony of faith and hope. In a world that seems to swing frantically between wallowing in misery and laughing it off, this psalm is deeply compelling because it refuses to do either.
Psalm 130 has given voice to millions of believers through the centuries who have called out to God from rock bottom. Sometimes it seems as though there is nowhere further to sink, as depression or illness, loss or misfortune, guilt or shame threaten to overwhelm us. The sense of abandonment, helplessness or sin is terrifyingly real. And yet, in our whimpers or our yells, we cry out to a God of mercy (2), forgiveness (4) and unfailing love (7). In Christ we discover, in a way the psalmist could hardly imagine, that we have a God who never minimizes or dismisses our distress and who has stepped down into hell itself for our redemption.
In time of distress, we can take heed of the psalmist's encouragement. This intensely personal prayer, in the midst of weakness and desperation, reaches out in dependence and confidence to the only One who can save. Watching and waiting are both deeply passive and active. In our weakness, we wait for the fulfillment of God's Word because he is trustworthy. In our sinfulness, we hold on to the promise of pardon because Jesus' cross has made it certain. In our loneliness, we join God's believing people in fragile, yet steely supplication, because there will be an end to it. So this is a prayer of striking, stunning hope, because "the 'bottom' has a bottom; the heights are boundless" (Eugene Peterson).
Read this psalm slowly again and again. Wait for God's word to you today.
Gracious Father, You are my rock. When all around me is crumbling, I stand confidently and trustfully on You.
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