Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink into the miry depths. . . .
— Psalm 69:1
Imagine being a sailor or part of a fishing crew at the time the biblical psalms were written. The waters are important for your livelihood, but they can also threaten you. The waters of a river, lake, or sea can turn dangerous and chaotic. Stormy waves can be scary, and heavy rains can bring dangerous, destructive flooding.
Psalm 69 uses this imagery to describe troubles and hardship that threaten to turn God’s beauty and order in our lives into chaos. Our own sin and the sins of others can disrupt our lives so much that it can feel like we are drowning.
Some of us know from experience what it’s like to deal with flooding or with a storm at sea. And all of us have seen destructive threats to our own lives and in the world around us through broken relationships, addiction, violence, division, and disease.
When we are threatened by such chaos, we can cry to God for help. The writer of Psalm 69 prays, “In your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation.” God’s salvation is sure indeed, even when we feel afraid. The threatening waters of sin and brokenness will not overwhelm us in the end, because God promises to keep us safe.
Rescuing God, sometimes things in this world and in my own heart threaten to overwhelm me like a flood. Save me, Lord, by your great power and love. Amen.