“Out of the Depths”
Perhaps one of the reasons the Psalms have been remembered, recited, sung, and shared for thousands of years is their seemingly honest and passionate portrayal of human feeling. The Psalmist rejoices, fears, hurts, laments, and hopes – all the while engaging in a conversation with God. One important feature of the Psalms is that in nearly every case, the Psalmist can find reason for hope and praise. Here in Psalm 130 – a Psalm that begins with a cry from the lowest of places – we see the depths of despair that can be overcome by the hope of God’s redemption.
Crying “from the depths,” the Psalmist hopes that God will hear the Psalmist’s cries, that God will be attentive. I know there have been times in my own life when I have felt so isolated, so overwhelmed, that my only hope was that perhaps God would hear my cries. This Psalm not only reminds me that others have felt like this, but also assures me of the character of the God to which the Psalmist has cried: “O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with the Lord is great power to redeem.” When we are overcome with grief, when we feel completely alone, when we can only hope against hope, God is steadfastly present in our lives, loving us, listening to our cries.
Psalm 130, and others like it, can provide examples of God’s constant care and concern for us, even in the midst of the deepest and darkest places. Even as we yearn for quality care, search for nutritious food and clean water, and resist stigma and discrimination, there is comfort in knowing that God hears our cries. We are also called, I believe, to affirm and celebrate our faith that God is steadfastly and lovingly present by hearing and responding to the cries of those around us. When we long for God’s presence in the midst of our despair, it is a great and wonderful thing to feel the warm embrace of another person who cares. When we are lost, confused, or alone, it is reassuring to receive kindness and grace through others in our communities. As our souls wait for the Lord, let us recognize God’s presence in one another - caring, loving, helping, and hoping together.
To think about: Have you felt yourself crying from the depths? What has it meant to you to have others respond with living examples of God’s steadfast love? How might God’s compassionate nature work in and through us as we respond to one another, giving care in times of need, showing love in moments of fear, and sharing hope as we face the struggles of life together?
Written by: Dr. Jeff Moore, Saint Louis, Missouri, USA. Trained Churches, Channels of Hope Facilitator