Pay attention to the tension in your body. Let go of it and any expectations to do anything other than God’s will today. Prepare yourself to hear God’s word.
Psalm 130 (NRSV)
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 twelve long years, despair, darkness, and death reigned un-checked inside the walls of the Dachau concentration camp. It was a place of unspeakable horror and suffering. After the war, chapels were erected at the camp: places of remembrance, of mourning, and of hope. Etched onto the wall of the Protestant chapel are the words that begin this psalm: “Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.” How fitting.
This psalm is one of lament. In his agony, the speaker cried out to God: Hear me! Pay attention to me! Have pity on me! The initial cry is followed by a confession: God is not so far off; has not been chased away by our sinfulness. Where God is present, there is always hope.
No matter what we’re facing or where we find ourselves, our hope is in God, “for with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem” (verse 7). Hope is the sort of thing that really only matters when the situation is less than ideal. In fact, the worse the circumstances, the more precious hope becomes.
For a person in distress, hope casts a vision of life that is restored, of damages repaired, of wrongs made right, of sunshine after the rain. We can endure hardship because we have the hope that God’s unshakeable love will be with us in real ways.
Lord of Heaven, Lord of Hope,
When the powers of this world overwhelm me,
When my own sins have me feeling low,
When waiting is unbearably hard,
Help me to see beyond the moment,
and catch a glimpse of you.
Renew my hope in you, Lord.
Go with God.