“I Feel Like I Am Drowning!”

“Awake, Lord! Why do you sleep?
Rouse yourself! Do not reject us forever.”
“Why do you hide your face 
and forget our misery and oppression?
We are brought down to the dust; 
our bodies cling to the ground.
Rise up and help us; 
rescue us because of your unfailing love.”
Psalm 44:23-26 (NIV)

As I sat listening to the child of God tell me of her incessant pain and misery my heart ached for her in such a difficult situation. The illness had gone on for some years and the medical community could offer her little help. She was feeling claustrophobic and with good reason. Finally she blurted out, “Gordon, I feel like I am drowning!”

I sought to offer some comfort from the Scriptures; God’s Word which has so many illustrations of people in pain and how they cried out to the Lord in their distress. As she spoke, my mind turned to Psalm 44 and the final verses which seemed so appropriate to how this individual’s experience.

The Psalmist was complaining to the Lord that his situation felt like the Lord has fallen asleep. He called on the Lord to wake up, get up, and rescue him from his acute problems. He told the Lord that he felt as though God had hidden Himself from him and forgotten him.

Have you ever felt that way? Or have you never been in such a difficult place in life? Many people have felt just like the Psalmist and have wondered where the Lord is in such dark times. They cry out but no one seems to answer. They cannot speak of their despair lest they offend a weaker Christian friend or family member.

Yet in the darkness that surrounds the Psalmist there is a ray of hope sounded. Notice the words, “…because of your unfailing love.” The writer of this lament is still clinging to the notion that God’s love is unfailing in spite of the darkness in which he now exists. Thus he argues on that basis for the Lord to rescue him.

Can you cry out to the Lord with the same honesty of the Psalmist? This prayer is a teaching tool recorded in the Bible to help us learn to pray our way through situations that make us feel like we are drowning. Read the whole Psalm today and pray it to the Lord using the hope the Psalmist expressed concerning the Lord’s unfailing love or use some other aspect of the Lord’s character described in Scripture that you have found helpful in the past. Those descriptions of the Lord are life preservers to cling to in times when we feel we are about to drown.

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