Scripture: Psalm 69 (NIV)
Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God. Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. You, God, know my folly; my guilt is not hidden from you. Lord, the LORD Almighty, may those who hope in you not be disgraced because of me; God of Israel, may those who seek you not be put to shame because of me. For I endure scorn for your sake, and shame covers my face. I am a foreigner to my own family, a stranger to my own mother’s children; for zeal for your house consumes me, and the insults of those who insult you fall on me. When I weep and fast, I must endure scorn; when I put on sackcloth, people make sport of me. Those who sit at the gate mock me, and I am the song of the drunkards. But I pray to you, LORD, in the time of your favor; in your great love, O God, answer me with your sure salvation. Rescue me from the mire, do not let me sink; deliver me from those who hate me, from the deep waters. Do not let the floodwaters engulf me or the depths swallow me up or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, LORD, out of the goodness of your love; in your great mercy turn to me. Do not hide your face from your servant; answer me quickly, for I am in trouble. Come near and rescue me; deliver me because of my foes. You know how I am scorned, disgraced and shamed; all my enemies are before you. Scorn has broken my heart and has left me helpless; I looked for sympathy, but there was none, for comforters, but I found none. They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst. May the table set before them become a snare; may it become retribution and a trap. May their eyes be darkened so they cannot see, and their backs be bent forever. Pour out your wrath on them; let your fierce anger overtake them. May their place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in their tents. For they persecute those you wound and talk about the pain of those you hurt. Charge them with crime upon crime; do not let them share in your salvation. May they be blotted out of the book of life and not be listed with the righteous. But as for me, afflicted and in pain— may your salvation, God, protect me. I will praise God’s name in song and glorify him with thanksgiving. This will please the LORD more than an ox, more than a bull with its horns and hooves. The poor will see and be glad— you who seek God, may your hearts live! The LORD hears the needy and does not despise his captive people. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and all that move in them, for God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah. Then people will settle there and possess it; the children of his servants will inherit it, and those who love his name will dwell there.
Miry means “very muddy or boggy.” When you use a word like that in a Star Wars context, it’s hard not to think of Dagobah, the planet Yoda spends his exile on. A swampy, muck-ridden planet, it has nothing to attract tourists of any kind. Snakes and beasts move among its gloom. Fog is a constant companion. This is not a place you would spend a whole lot of time willingly, it wouldn’t seem.
While Yoda lived there, communing with the Force and waiting for the next hope to be ready, you wonder if he felt the despair that the psalmist feels in today’s passage. Yoda was scorned and shamed as well, with the Jedi discredited and himself having to hide out as to have his life spared. He represented the light in a galaxy that had no interest in it and was embracing the dark side whether they liked it or not. He couldn’t do anything but wait, which must have been a helpless feeling. From being the Grand Master over thousands of Jedi to being alone. How could you not feel sorrow over how things had turned?
We have those days, don’t we? Those times in our lives when we think that we are all alone, that the world has turned against us, that nothing we do goes right. We may not physically be in a slimy mudhole all alone, but emotionally that’s our mindset. Depression, anxiety, worthlessness–all of those feelings can have us wondering just what is coming next. We wonder if God is still listening, if He will answer our cries.
The good news is that He will. He knows our needs, He knows the terrible times in our lives when we are stuck in sin or terribleness. He loves us and will bring us through the mire one way or another. Even in this psalm of heartbreak and despair, the psalmist ends with words of hope and joy. “The Lord hears the needy and does not despise His captive people.” He will hear us as well. We just must have faith that He will pull us out of the swamp like a sunken X-wing and put us back on solid ground.