By Rev. Dr. Priscilla Pope-Levison, Associate Dean for External Programs and Professor of Ministerial Studies, Perkins School of Theology/SMU
“Save me, God, because the waters have reached my neck!
I have sunk into deep mud. My feet can’t touch the bottom!” (Psalm 69:1-2)
In these verses, we are brought face to face with the fearful anxiety of a person in such affliction that she cannot see beyond her present adversity, who is afraid of being swallowed up by it like a drowning man, with the ground cut out from under his feet and his hold lost against the flood waters that sweep over him. This is a picture of deep, deep disorientation. It’s not pretty, it’s not neatly wrapped and tied with a bow.
Our world is currently in deep, deep disorientation with COVID-19 as we face debt, abuse, unemployment, slander, harassment, violence, even death. No one is alone in this regard. We’re all crying out to God for help and deliverance, for salvation and rescue, for steadfast love and mercy.
So did the writer of Psalm 69, who several verses later (vv. 13-14) found the strength, even in deep, deep disorientation, to call on God for mercy and help:
“But as for me, my prayer is to you, O LORD.
At an acceptable time, O God,
in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.
With your faithful help rescue me
from sinking in the mire …”
This is my prayer for today. May it be for you, too.