1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. 2 Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! 3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with you, so that you may be revered. 5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; 6 my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning, more than those who watch for the morning. 7 O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the Lord there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem. 8 It is he who will redeem Israel from all its iniquities. Psalm 130
In preparation for the start of the 2017 Major League Baseball Season, I have been re-watching every game of last year’s World Series (thank you Kevin, Wendy, Hayley, and Megan Bird for the gift of the DVD’s). It has been fun to re-watch the games, especially with some time that has passed. But I also remember how stressed I was and how, after the Cubs got down 3-1 in the Series how just awful I felt. I remember thinking it was over and that there was no hope left. Re-watching it, some of that despair came back even though I knew the outcome!
I can admit that I can be a fatalist. In other words, there are times when, especially when dealing with myself, when I think things just stink and I’m worthless. I rarely like a sermon, I also dwell on the bad shots in a round of golf than the good ones, I always think that any presentation I give in front of others isn’t very good. And I rarely believe my teams are going to win at anything in sports. I even prepare myself for Star Wars movies to be terrible just in case!
Basically, I see my faults and rarely my gifts. I see my mistakes time and time again, especially when it comes to trying to live as a disciple of Jesus Christ. Despite my enthusiasm and positivity, it is mostly directed outwards, towards others. When I look at myself, it is often with an overly harsh lens.
But that is why the salvation we have received in Christ is so important. In the Psalm above, we hear that in God’s word is hope, and that in God there is steadfast love and redemption. We call this “Good News.” I need that word like a flower needs sunshine to grow. The power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, of the fact that Christ has saved and redeemed me through his work on the cross and not through my own actions is the oxygen I need to breathe. Every day. Without it, I’m residing in the depths of despair and hopelessness. With it, I’m renewed, restored, and filled with hope.
This is what the word of God brings to all of us: hope. We are not worthless. We are not just sinners who screw up. We are worthy of love, of grace, of salvation. We are not losers but winners. Winners because of what Christ has done. Winners because God has loved and redeemed us.
There are times when we will despair, where we will be in the depths, when we will wonder if Jesus Christ truly loves us. But we also already know the outcome. We know it because Jesus Christ rose from that tomb, we know it because the Word of God says that we are saved by grace through faith and not by works. We know it because the Word of God says that nothing will separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. We know it because the Word of God tells us that with the Lord, there is steadfast love. For that we can say, “Thanks be to God!” Amen