Save me, O God, *
for the waters have risen up to my neck.
I am sinking in deep mire, *
and there is no firm ground for my feet.
It was a hot afternoon and I had just finished playing Tennis with my Pastor. There was a family in the church who had a swimming pool and they had told him that he could use it any time. I told him I couldn’t swim, but he said I could just cool off in the shallow end. So, we went to the pool to relax and cool off. My Pastor got out of the pool and decided to lay in the sun for a while. I thought this would be a great time to practice my float on my back as I had in the swim lessons I’d taken about a year before. The next thing I knew, my life was literally flashing before my eyes.
In Psalm 69, we read words that are prophetic of Jesus as he endured the agony of torture and loneliness awaiting His crucifixion. His words cry out to the Father for salvation. He knows he will soon die, but the feeling of being surrounded by death was too much. The strength that led him on His journey to the cross now seemed gone – it seemed all that was left was death.
Our lives can feel overwhelmed before we know it, especially if we’re always acting strong for others and feel we have no one to reach out to with our own pain. Today is our third Friday since beginning Lent. Friday’s are a day for remembering the great sacrifice of the Cross that Jesus made for us. Today scripture speaks to us of the overwhelming circumstances of which may sometimes surround. As you read and pray, be real with Jesus. If you feel you have no one to turn to who understands what you’re going through, I guarantee you He does. You can cast all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7).
As I was practicing floating on my back in the pool that day, I somehow drifted out over the deep end. As an 18-year-old, I was afraid of the water. I never learned to swim, and had no confidence to put into practice the things I learned in my lessons. When I went to stand up there was no bottom for my feet. In a panic, I began flailing around for dear life, as they say.
In that moment, in the blink of an eye, I went from calm and serene, to shear panic. My life literally flashed before my eyes. I thought this was the end. I was going to drown in that pool. But, my pastor was there. Surely, he would jump in and save me. I cried out to the Lord, “Save me O God! Don’t let me die like this!” Just then, my toes hit concrete and I could drag myself to the edge of the pool. There at the edge of the pool, standing down and looking in was my Pastor. He said, “Are you alright?”. The only thing I could manage to say between coughing up water was, “No, thanks to you! What happened to all that talk of laying down your life for a friend? You didn’t jump in to save me!” To which he said, “The way you were flailing around, you would have dragged us both down!”
Later I came to believe he wouldn’t have let me die – but it sure felt like it at the time. But, I know a God who never lets us down. He has promised to never leave us. I know He was in the pool with me that day, just like He was with Jesus in those long hours of agony. Yes, Jesus died, and one day we will too. But, on the third day, Jesus was raised to life never to die again. We too can live with the assurance of the Resurrection in the last day. Till then, we need not fear death…it is the doorway to everlasting life.
My daily Lenten prayer – “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit. ” NRSV