I voted early today.  We in America are a week away from knowing who our next Commander-in-Chief will be for the next four years.  Many in America pin their hopes on President Obama continuing as President, while other hope that Mitt Romney will lead us to the promise land of prosperity once again.

This is not a political blog post.  It is not an attempt to sway you to vote for either candidate.  No, this is a meditation upon Psalm 130, in hopes that you will see FROM MY OWN LIFE from where my own hope stems.  My hope is that you will see that THE hope we each TRULY need is not national; it is ultimately personal.

The Center for Disease reports that 1 in 10 Americans suffer from depression, and about 4% suffer from major depression (http://www.cdc.gov/features/dsdepression/index.html).  No elected official can give us hope on an individual level because the truth is we all struggle with a myriad of issues that have nothing to do with economics, healthcare, or national security.  A president cannot calm your fears at night when you are tossing and turning because of your thoughts.  No politician can ultimately quell your feelings about your failures, your self-hatred, your anger, or your unbridled lust and addictions.

If you are honest with yourself for a moment, you know that is true.

What follows below is my daily devotional for today.  It is my prayer & thoughts toward God because of the hope that He and HE ALONE has folded into the fabric of my life.

Psalm 130

1Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord;

2O Lord, hear my voice.

Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.

3If you, O Lord, kept a record of sins,

O Lord, who could stand?

4But with you there is forgiveness;

therefore you are feared.

5I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,

and in his word I put my hope.

6My soul waits for the Lord

more than watchmen wait for the morning,

more than watchmen wait for the morning.

7O Israel, put your hope in the Lord,

for with the Lord is unfailing love

and with him is full redemption.

8He himself will redeem Israel

from all their sins.

Dear Lord, I have cried to you from the depths of my heart.  I have truly, by Your grace, poured out my heart like water.  I have been swallowed by the deeps; I have been thrust about by the torrents of uncertainty & despair.  I have been thrown down into disarray by the sickness of my sin.  My heart has been exposed in the light of your holiness, and still, I have cried to you.

“This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him and delivered him out of all of his troubles.” (Psalm 34:6)

Your ears have attended to my cry for mercy!  My cry has reached you!  You inclined to me!  You stooped down to hear my raging, and you did not withhold your mercy from my sin-sick life!  “Therefore, I will call upon the Name of the LORD as long as I live” (Ps.116:2).

Lord God, John the baptizer exclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!” (John 1:29).  Lord God, in my sin you still heard me, because Lord, if you kept a record of sins who could stand?  Lord, by Jesus, you have taken away my sins.  I can’t fathom that. I can’t even feel the truth of it, but I do TRUST in the truth of it.  Therefore, I will call upon You as long as I live.

What hope!

Your Word is my hope!  There have been days, (You know), when I had NOTHING.  I had no feeling, no peace, no joy, no light ANYWHERE except in the bare wood of the promises of God.  I had nothing to cling to, except as I combed the pages of Your Book, and a promise would leap off the page and bury itself deeply within my own soul.

 Fear not, for I AM with you.

Do not look anxiously about you, for I AM your God.

I will strengthen you.

I will help you.

I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10

That single line calmed ALL of my doubts… for a moment, or a day.  Still, I had to come to You again when my doubts would assail me—when unbelief would conquer my hope.

Again, I would be adrift among the waves, and I would beat my chest (and my steering wheel) as a result of my wounded soul.  Days would pass and I would merely live.  I would live… and wait.

More than watchmen wait for the morning.

More than watchmen wait for the morning.

Blistered by a life that was sick with sin, railing against a God who had created this miserable life—I would wait…

I would wait.

And as I felt the pull of my mind being cast down into a hellish despair again, and I would scream to You for aid, suddenly, quietly I would “stumble” upon Your Word:

Who among you fears the Lord?

Who obeys the voice of His Servant?

Who walks in darkness and has NO light?

Let him trust IN THE NAME of the Lord

and rely upon his God.

Isaiah 50:10

No light came from anywhere EXCEPT through Your Word.

And that was enough.  It was enough to bolster my heart again, not upon an experience, but upon the bare Word of God to my soul.  I trusted in Your NAME.  I trusted & believed that upon the goodness of your Name, that You would come and that Your promises toward me WOULD come true eventually.

When God made his promise to Abraham, since there was no one greater for him to swear by, He swore by Himself, saying, “I will surely bless you…” And so after waiting patiently, Abraham received what was promised. (Hebrews 6:13-15)

“This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him and delivered him out of all of his troubles.” (Psalm 34:6)

You DID!  You delivered me out of my troubles. You finally brought me out of the despair I was living in, and You revolutionized my life!!

Therefore, my word to you (reader) today is this:

Put your hope in the Lord,

for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.

He himself will redeem (you) from all (your) sins. 

Psalm 130:7-8