My soul is cast down within me;
therefore I remember you
from the land of Jordan and of Hermon,
from Mount Mizar.
Deep calls to deep
at the roar of your waterfalls;
all your breakers and your waves
have gone over me.
By day the Lord commands his steadfast love,
and at night his song is with me,
a prayer to the God of my life.
I say to God, my rock:
“Why have you forgotten me?
Why do I go mourning
because of the oppression of the enemy?”
As with a deadly wound in my bones,
my adversaries taunt me,
while they say to me all the day long,
“Where is your God?”
Why are you cast down, O my soul,
and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him,
my salvation and my God. Psalm 42:6b-11 ESV
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Romans 6:3-11 ESV
When there has been a drought–no rain for a long time–the land becomes very dry and hard, plants wither and die, and crops don’t grow well. Everyone wishes for rain, but rain isn’t always a good thing after a drought. If the rain is very heavy and sudden, instead of soaking into the ground and bringing new life, it will run off the dry, hard land and pull some of the soil away as it runs off. This can cause serious erosion, which is land washing away. Floods are another serious problem if there is sudden, heavy rain after a drought. If the water can’t soak into the land fast enough, it might build up into a flood.
The writer of Psalm 42 started by saying that he was thirsty for God. But now he changes the picture and says that he hears the roar of deep waters and the crashing of waterfalls, and feels like the waves of a flood are closing over him. He feels as if God has overwhelmed him with sorrow and trouble instead of giving him the help he wants. He wonders why God has let his enemies get the better of him, and why he keeps asking for help and doesn’t get an answer. But once again, he ends the psalm with hope, saying that God will help him at the right time, and that he will be able to praise God for his answer to prayer.
When problems overwhelm us it’s easy to feel as if God is sending us trouble and doesn’t care about us. We feel that way because we are sinful. We can’t see God and his ways clearly because of our sins, and we also know that we deserve his punishment. But God uses water to do his work in our lives. Our sinful selves have to die if we are going to have new life with God. God uses the water of baptism to put our sins to death, and through baptism God gives us a new life with him. The water of baptism both kills us and makes us alive again, because God connects baptism with Jesus’ death on the cross and his resurrection from the dead. Because we belong to God, he uses the troubles that seem to wash over us like water to make us stronger and closer to him. Nothing can take us away from God’s love in Jesus.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your great love for us in Jesus. Please be with us and help us when trouble washes over us. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.