Devotional: Chasing away sorrow

Published 6:29 pm Saturday, April 1, 2023

“A Song of Ascents — Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord. Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications! If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, Lord, who could stand?” — Psalm 130:1-3

In just a few days, we will end the season of Lent and begin the season of Easter. It is a change that most Christians anxiously look forward to. While Lent is instructive and provides us time to focus on ways we can grow closer to being the people God wants us to be, it is also hard to reflect and examine our own lives and practicing of our faith without feeling much like the psalmist in this 130th Psalm. 

This is the prayer of one who is keenly aware of their failings and the inability to overcome them. The writer wants, or perhaps is driven to, confess to God how inadequate their life seems next to the glory of a perfect God and the glorious creation that surrounds us. It is a feeling that can lead to the depths of self-rebuke and self- hatred, which can lead to acceptance of love that our God has for us. It is also a place where many Christians become weighed down with and self-loathing.

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However, the Psalmist pauses here to express that our God is a God of forgiveness and mercy. We should feel ashamed and aghast, at some of our thoughts and actions. However, as Lent closes we are immediately reminded that God’s love is so boundless and healing that even a “wretch like me” can find cleansing. It is this love that allows the Psalmist to “wait on the Lord” which fertilizes and strengthens the biggest gift that God continually gives us. That gift is hope.

Hope helps us to get up off our Lenten knees and stride out into the world proclaiming that, “God is alive and among us. God is loving, caring, and forgiving. God is more powerful than the sin that weighs us down.” Just as Jesus could not be imprisoned in a tomb, we can no longer be imprisoned away from God, because we are not sin free. God, through Jesus’ obedient life, death and resurrection has washed us clean. 

In this coming season of Easter, let us wait diligently. However, let us hope with glorious joy!

Keith Leach is Pastor of College Church and College Chaplain at Hampden-Sydney College. He can be reached at