Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD; O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy. If you, O LORD, kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand? But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared. I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning. O Israel, put your hope in the LORD, for with the LORD is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.
This ancient song is well-known for its opening line: “out of the depths…”
Sometimes it is from the depths of anxiety, fear, or sadness that we offer our most earnest prayers. On this Sunday morning (our first to ever worship via the internet!) we are reminded of the depth of anxiety and fear from which many in our state, country, and world are crying out. Those who have actually become sick and are dying from Covid-19; the health care workers who are attempting to care for them even as they recognize that they, too, become dangerously exposed to the virus; those who are most economically affected by losing their work and income – the list could go on. The Psalmist cries out here as well, but not without hope. Three words that stand out to me as I read and pray Psalm 130 this morning:
Psalm 130 falls into the category of a lament. A lament in scripture is where complaint and petition are combined. Lament = Complaint + Petition. When was the last time you complained to God? Do you consider that a good thing to do? Scripture is filled with complaints to God by the way… so it must surely be allowed in a person’s prayer life. Last week we considered the question asked by the Israelites in the desert when they were without water: “Is God with us… or not!?” They were certainly complaining. But as we learned, complaint, too, can be a form of faithful prayer. Hear my voice O Lord!
I love the image of the watchman here, standing on the wall, wondering if the enemy will attack in the dark, waiting for the sun to rise in order to bring light and more safety to the situation. Waiting is also part of our faith, and part of our praying.
“Put your hope in the Lord… In His word and promises I put my hope… for in the Lord is unfailing love and full redemption. ” Yes, we cry out from the depths, and yes, we wait for God to answer, but our crying and waiting is NOT without hope. We have experienced God’s miracles in our lives before, we have seen God do great things for us in the past. We do not forget those…. and we lean on those experiences to give us hope for tomorrow.
Take these three words with you this week: CRY … WAIT … HOPE Let these be the words that move us toward deeper and more earnest prayer.
(the above thoughts are a summary of the message shared via our ZOOM meeting last Sunday…)