“Save me, oh God, for the waves have come up to my neck…”
Have you ever had the experience of being at the ocean when the surf that comes in overtakes you with each crashing wave? It’s amazing the power of water, isn’t it? I mean, the same substance (mostly) that we drink in our cups to keep our health is capable of overwhelming us. Entirely amazing!
If you’ve been in the ocean during high tide you know the power of water. You know that simply standing becomes a feat in itself. And, this Psalm uses the image of water and its’ power as an apt image of the troubles of life that so easily rise to near suffocating levels.
What’s so remarkable about this passage is the wide range of meaning such a passage can have. For some, the waters rising about their neck might be their health, or the health of a loved one. For others, maybe the waters of financial burden rises on their neck. Whatever your “waves” are, anxiety, worry, fear, or humiliation, this psalm addresses it.
This psalm is one of the many examples why the Bible is more than a religious text. This book deals honestly with the human experience. The various psalmists are rather blunt with their feelings. There’s no sugar coating to the text of Scripture. There are passages that ought to make one blush, and others that ought to make you sick. None of these are to be thrown out because each experience in Scripture is part of the human experience, even more the present human experience. What’s more present than our present fears or anxieties? I’m willing to bet that only minutes after awaking from our nocturnal slumber our anxieties rush upon us, much like, I don’t know, waves. . .
If you get scared about telling God (or others) your anxieties and fears, take comfort. One, he already knows. Two, anyone who listens is equally broken and flawed. We are all crying out for a savior, whether we realize it or not.
When the waters rise, may your voice rise higher. Continue pounding on the door of heaven. In time, you’ll realize it never was a closed door you were pounding on, but the loving presence of Christ himself.
*Image from the public domain.