In the Office: Out of the Depths

Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD;
Lord, hear my voice.
Let your ears be attentive
to my cry for mercy. (Psalm 130:1-2)

Last night, I received a call about a local tragedy. The mother of a young man who participates in some of our student ministry activities had died, and folks were rightly concerned about where he would go, what he would do, and how he would process such a significant loss. Thankfully, our youth minister — who has spent some time with this young man — was able to go immediately to the scene to offer support. And in the days ahead, I know that there are many members of our church family who will do anything in their power to make sure that he gets any additional help he needs.

Sadly, tragedies like this are far too common these days. At times, they might seem to be “nameless statistics” — background news stories that create that hushed hum of heartache that lies just below the surface of “normal” life. But almost inevitably, it seems, that “nameless statistic” becomes an acquaintance…a friend…a family member. And then, what can we do but echo the words of one of today’s psalms: “Out of the depths I cry to you, LORD. Lord, hear my voice.”

Of course, when we offer this prayer, it can feel like a cry of weakness and abandonment. Having nowhere else to turn, we shout (or whimper) our dismay and grief — along with our sense of the injustice and the brokenness of it all — to the only One who might be able to hear and understand and respond to our heartache. And in His mercy, hearing and understanding and responding are exactly what He does.

Today’s psalm might begin in the depths. But it ends in a place of hope:

Israel, put your hope in the LORD,
for with the LORD is unfailing love
and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel
from all their sins. (Psalm 130:7-8)

Would you join me in praying that the LORD’s unfailing love and full redemption would surround and uphold this young man today? Out of respect for his privacy, I won’t share his name. But that’s okay. There are too many like him. And all of them need our prayers.

May we be a lifeline for those who find themselves “in the depths” today. And may God’s unfailing love be truly expressed through us, His failing yet hopeful children.

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