Out of the Depths
(Read Psalm 130)
The writer of Psalm 130 was “in the depths.” Not simply a mild depression or temporary problem, but deep trouble, deep pain, deep heartache. In fact, the Hebrew word for depths in Psalm 130 is used in Isaiah 51 to describe the depths of the ocean.
At times, we may find ourselves in the depths. Our terminology might be different, but the meaning is the same. “I’m in such a rut.” “I feel so down.” “I’ve never been so low.” When in the depths, do we know the way up and out? Psalm 130 provides the answers.
When in the depths, the psalmist gave his burdens to the Lord. “Out of the depths I have cried to You, O Lord.” The Hebrew word for “cried” in this verse has the sense of crying loudly or wordlessly. Yet, according to Scripture, even our sobs and sighs are prayers heard and acted on by the Almighty.
No matter how deep the pit or heavy the weight, when we give our burdens to the Lord, He lifts us up and out of the deep and gives us the peace of God which can only come from God. This is not theoretical thinking or a locker-room pep-talk. This is divine truth. Paul wrote, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)
Trust in God’s Mercy and Forgiveness
Sometimes, we find ourselves in the depths because of a spiritual crisis. We feel the weight of our sins and wonder how even our merciful God could ever forgive us. The psalmist wrote, “If you, Lord, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?” (Psalm 130:3) Just imagine what would happen if God did keep a record of our wrongs—for one day, or even a single hour.
How important, then, that we remember the words of Psalm 130: “But there is forgiveness with You,” verse 4; and “with Him is abundant redemption,” verse 7. In fact, it is because of God’s forgiveness and plenteous redemption in Jesus Christ that we can be certain that He will lift us up and out of the “horrible pit” of our problems. When feeling helpless and hopeless, ask yourself, If God willingly sacrificed His only Son to save me from my sins, will He refuse to give me any other godly blessing? Of course not.
Wait Patiently for God to Act
Finally, when in the depths of trouble or despair, wait patiently for the Lord to act. The psalmist wrote, “I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I do hope.” (Psalm 130:5) Like many Bible words for waiting, the Hebrew word used in this verse has the sense of strength, patience, and hope.
Where does this hope originate? The psalmist tells us this too: “And in His word I do hope.” To have this confidence that God will act is to have the patience of that little boy who kept staring at the escalator in the mall. “Son,” asked a security guard, “is something wrong? Are you lost?” “No sir,” the boy replied. “I’m just waiting for my chewing gum to come around again.”
Scripture doesn’t talk about chewing gum, but it does say much about the source of strength and patience. “I waited patiently for the Lord; and He inclined to me and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock.” (Psalm 40:1-2)
Mark Weis is the Dean of Students at Immanuel Lutheran College in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.