Seasons of disorientation force us to face uncomfortable truths. And to modern ears, is there any truth more uncomfortable than the fact that we are sinners, completely unable to rescue ourselves from the pits we find ourselves in? We’re tempted at every turn to believe that “God helps those who help themselves,” and that given enough time and effort we can navigate ourselves out of the darkness. However, one of the difficult lessons seasons of disorientation teach us is that we are masters at overestimating our capacity for self-deliverance.
Psalm 130 is written by someone who has come to understand the depths of their problem and the shallowness of any self-centred solutions. Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord. The psalmist’s distress doesn’t drive him to look within, but outside of himself. In his place of darkness he doesn’t see self-help as an option as it relates to rescue and deliverance. He wants and needs the Lord to answer.
He wants and needs the Lord’s forgiveness. He doesn’t see the solution to his anguish lying in a change “out there,” but within. He is not looking for the Lord’s deliverance in general, but specifically for the Lord’s deliverance from the crushing weight of his sin. This is a cry for mercy from one who has no illusions as to the nature of his own character. But this is also a cry for mercy from one who has no illusions as to the nature of God’s character.
But with you there is forgiveness. Forgiveness is offered by grace, through faith in the Lord. A promise made real to the psalmist, but one completely stunningly fulfilled in Christ.
Out of the depths of our sin, shame, and guilt—places where we are all too keenly aware of the limits of self-salvation, we can cry out to Jesus. And we can do so with confidence, because at the cross we see the glory of unfailing love making complete forgiveness possible. We witness guilt and shame being covered by an atoning love. At the cross we see any self-centred means of salvation being exposed as foolishness even as the Christ-centred means of salvation unfolds.
And therefore because of the cross we can stand unashamed and justified. Because of the cross we can, with reverence, serve Jesus boldly and faithfully. And because of the cross, we can live—even within this season of disorientation—through a posture of faithful endurance knowing that this too will be swallowed up in the victory of “full redemption”.