Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities.
For some reason, Psalm 130 never fails to choke me up whenever I read it or hear it. Maybe it’s because we’ve all been “there”. To the place of deep despair and grief where all we can do is sit, pray, and beg that God can hear our cries and will come to our aid. It’s this place of despair that the psalmist is writing from, and so his/her words pull at our heartstrings as we imagine what pain or hurt they may be experiencing. And yet, just as much as this psalmist expresses despair and begs for God to hear him/her, this person seems to know deep within them that God will show up.
Our psalmist knows that God forgives, loves, and saves. He/she, even in their despair, knows that God will come to help them and bring hope to their situation, no matter the actual outcome of whatever is happening to them. Maybe we’ve been in that place, too? In the place where we sit, cry, wait, and pray just knowing that, somehow, God will show up and redeem us or act when we so desperately need God to just do something.
That place, for me, was my dad’s hospice room when he was in the last days of his life. We knew he would die, and our hearts were breaking. We waited for God to bring him and us comfort in those days and months when we weren’t sure how much longer he would live. We despaired, but we knew that God’s steadfast love, peace, and forgiveness surrounded us all. And we knew that our dad would rest in the promise of God’s resurrection when he would die.
This is, in more than one way, the hope we find in Christ. That, even in the deepest pits of despair, God’s presence, forgiveness, and steadfast love are there. Even when we wait like sentinels sitting on city walls who wait for the peace of the morning to come, God’s there and God’s going to do something. God’s going to show us, and all of God’s people, the promise and fulfillment of that steadfast love and forgiveness, even when we think we have been lost in pain and sin. There will be a hope and peace that comes with the morning. There will be abundant life here and now, and in the resurrection. Sometimes it might feel like we wait a lifetime for it to come to its fullness. But we are assured that it’s always been there, and in that we find hope as we wait for that new and risen day.