Read: Psalm 69
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.
Three of the four years I was in high school, I went whitewater rafting on the South Fork of the American River with my parents and twin brother. There were so-called “swimmer’s rapids” where you could jump out and float the river, and it was an interesting experience. You jumped into cold water and were then carried down the river at a decent clip while the raft followed nearby. Your life vest held you up, and it was the closest I have ever felt to being completely weightless.
I did have one experience of falling out of the raft, and that was a bit different. We hit a rapid and I had not braced myself correctly, so I tipped out of the raft. I remember going under and fighting to get myself into position to get back to the raft. I knew that if I didn’t fight, bad things could happen. One of the men in the boat pulled me back in and all was well, but it was still a frightening few minutes.
That experience of tipping out of the raft and going under is what comes to mind in the first two verses of this psalm. While I did not have the problem of being mired in something, the water sweeping over me was very fast, and I imagine it would be similar to being swept away by floodwaters. I can feel the psalmist’s anxiety and fear and they ponder being swept under by everything going on. It is one of those cases when the only way they were going to survive was to trust that the Lord would pull them out of the turbulent metaphorical waters… just as I was plucked out of the American River.
Comfort us, Lord, when the waters are rising around us and we fear being swept away. You made the waters to flow the way they do, so bring us through the flood. Amen.