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Summer Psalms - On Psalm 38

August 10, 2022

Pray for Illumination - Heavenly Father, help me to know your ways; teach me your paths and lead me into your truth. Amen.

Read  Psalm 38:1-22


It was a beautiful summer day at a sandy beach on Prince Edward Island.  I was in the water with my brothers, just out far enough that I could still touch the ground and keep my head above water.  I was not a swimmer at all in those young years of my life, but I thought I was in control in the water.  Before I even realized what was happening, the current of the water had been slowly pulling me out deeper until the waves were putting me under water.  I had to use my tippy toes to try and keep my mouth above the water so I could breathe and call for help.  Unfortunately, I only had time to catch a quick breath before the water would cover my mouth again.  I couldn’t get a word out.  I felt scared and helpless.  Nobody even seemed to notice my desperate situation!


I am like the deaf, who cannot hear,
    like the mute, who cannot speak    Psalm 38:13

Today’s Psalm is not like many of the other Psalms that we have looked at so far.  We are left with a sense of unresolved despair.  David is lamenting to the Lord about his helpless situation.  There is no transition from lament to praise…at least not yet.  He is like a young boy being overwhelmed by ocean waves, unable to save himself or receive help from others.  But David quietly expressing a simple faith in God: “Lord, I wait for you; you will answer, Lord my God” (38:15).  And so, we wait.  

This may not be too far from your own experience.  You feel overwhelmed by your circumstances and feel helpless and alone in the trouble you are facing.  It may even seem that everything is working against you these days.  The last few years have left many people feeling this way.  We are always waiting for things to change.  Sometimes all you can pray is a simple prayer of faith: “Lord, you will answer”.  And, with the Psalmist, we wait on the Lord.


As I began swallowing more water than air, I felt something grab me by my legs.    My older brother had been swimming under the water and was sneaking up on me.  Rather than scare me as he had hoped, he rescued me and threw me closer to shallow water.  There were salt tears mixed with saltwater running down my face.  Tears of relief.  I was safe!  


 But God does nothing by accident.  God sees you; He knows you, and he has a good plan for you.  He will answer.  But we can still pray, “Come quickly to help me, my Lord and my Savior.” (38:22)