Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The long hand of God

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from Psalm 69:1-3 (NIV):

“Save me, O God,

for the waters have come up to my neck.

I sink in the miry depths,

where there is no foothold.

I have come into the deep waters;

the floods engulf me.

I am worn out calling for help;

my throat is parched.

My eyes fail,

looking for my God.”

When I was a boy about 12 years old, I was working with my older brother on the ranch that we grew up on. It was summer time. I think it was general cleanup around the mill that my dad ran. We had a pit, and we were told to clean it up. I went down the ladder first, and when I got to the bottom, I simply jumped off onto what I thought was solid ground. Instead, it was water, and deep, because I remember plunging down a few feet under water.

Immediately, panic set in. I remember flailing and feeling completely helpless, even though I was a good swimmer. The unexpected can lead to fear. When I bobbed up, I yelled out to my brother, who was there in a flash to pull me up. I don’t know whether I would have drowned or not, but in my mind I’ve always thought my brother saved my life that day.

While my panic episode lasted all of five seconds, David seems to be mired in a sea of distress. In 69:8 he says he is being scorned by his brothers. He has cried out so much, his throat hurts, which indicates that he truly is weary. Yet, he never stops calling out to God. Isn’t life like that sometimes? We’re sailing along smoothly, then we get pulled under for a moment. A minute later, we’re bobbing up and down helplessly. After a while, our strength is gone.

We don’t know why, but sometimes we just have to suffer a little. I don’t think God purposefully puts us in those situations; it’s just what life is. How we respond is what makes us strong. When we get through those times, we must be thankful. David is in distress at this moment, but a short time later, he is hopeful. He reminds himself of God’s past help in times of trouble. By the end of this Psalm, David is giving praise to God. And just as my brother’s hand reached out for mine, we must trust that God’s helping hand will find ours, just in the nick of time.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, thank you for sparing my life that day as a boy. Thank you for my brother’s hand when I needed it. I know this time, too, shall pass. I will praise you for your faithfulness. Amen

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