Growing up, our house was surrounded by woods. My brothers and I would pretend to have an imaginary war among the trees. We built trenches on top of the hill to protect us from enemy fire. Weeks later, we would forget about the trench and running through the woods we would fall in the dugout places.
Most of life is lived on the surface. We keep the trenches for battles. We setup routines that keep life safe. We buy big bottles of hand sanitizer. We get regular medical check-ups. We pay for insurance premiums. We put money into a retirement account. Then something or someone comes along and knocks us into a deep place. Sometimes we trip and fall into the holes we have created through our bad habits or bad decisions. But other times we don’t even see the hole. It just showed up and the next thing we know we are down in the darkness attempting to claw our way out.
“Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,” the Psalmist voices in desperation (Psalm 130:1). The writer has found himself in a deep place. A place that he didn’t expect. A place that is fearful, dark, and that sends echoes with every scream. It is in this dark place that he cries out, “Lord, hear my voice.” The image that most of us get when we read this psalm is of a man or woman in a low place in their life and he/she is crying out to God. The movement seems upward, as if, God is up above the low place waiting to pull the person out. This is the way most of us have been taught to see God. God is up there in the heavens waiting to come to our rescue when we fall.
God is with us in the trenches. God is in the deep places. Through Jesus and the cross, God has come among us in our dark places. God is with us not above us.
The Psalmist words are our words. They are the words of a parent who has lost a child, a couple who has lost a house to a fire, a daughter who is losing her father to sickness, an employee who has been laid off, a parent waiting for the prodigal son to come home, the wife who feels betrayed, the husband who calls for divorce, the child who has been abandoned, the homeless family, the hungry. “Out of the depths, I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice!” God hears our voice in the depths because God is with us in the depths.