Iím about to Drown!
Sometimes ministry feels like drowning. Perhaps the following thoughts based on Psalm 69 will resonate with you.
1 Save me, O God, for the waters have threatened my life. 2 I have sunk in deep mire, and there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and a flood overflows me.
Between debts, pressure to get things done, people who donít understand and our own personal failings we sometimes feel like we canít go on. The waters rush over my head while my feet are stuck in the muddy bottom. Utterly helpless and out of control, fear grips my life and panic threatens my sanity. What can I do? I call out to God. There is nowhere else to turn.
3 I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched; My eyes fail while I wait for my God.
I pray as best I can; I trust, as much as I am able; I believe, and so I call out some more, yet sometimes there seems to be no one to hear. When I thought the waves could get no higher they grew higher still. I do not see the coming of my God, the intervening of his hand.
4 Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; those who would destroy me are powerful, being wrongfully my enemies, what I did not steal, I then have to restore. 5 O God, it is Thou who dost know my folly, and my wrongs are not hidden from Thee.
I feel that I have gone the extra mile in trying to work our all my problems, but still they seem to grow higher. On the one had are those accusing me of things I have not done. On the other is my own conscience, which knows all too well my own failings. God knows my sin, but here I am. Iíve confessed that I am wrong. God knows that better than I, yet I do not see the end of my troubles.
6 May those who wait for Thee not be ashamed through me, O Lord GOD of hosts; may those who seek Thee not be dishonored through me, O God of Israel.
I am afraid of what people will think. I am not afraid for my sake, I am afraid for the people of God and for the sake of His name. What will people think of the church? What will people think of my family? What will people think of God? How can I ever minister in the name of Christ if people find out what I am really like? What if people find out what a poor financial steward I am? What if people find out what poor records I keep, or how undisciplined I really am, or how little I really pray, or how close I am to total melt down physically, mentally and spiritually? What if they knew, and how can I hide it any longer? Will it destroy the name of Godís people and their testimony? Will it destroy the Godís name and reputation in this community? Will my problems ruin any potential I may have for ministry? Oh God, I hope not; that is that last thing I want and yet it feels so inevitable.
7 Because for Thy sake I have borne reproach; dishonor has covered my face. 8 I have become estranged from my brothers, and an alien to my mother's sons. 9 For zeal for Thy house has consumed me, and the reproaches of those who reproach Thee have fallen on me.10 When I wept in my soul with fasting, it became my reproach. 11 When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them. 12 Those who sit in the gate talk about me, and I am the song of the drunkards.
The revelation of my misery brings slander from the people. High and low alike bring bad remarks down upon my head. I donít need this. I am well aware of my own sin and so is God. I donít need people pointing it out and making a public issue of it. The ones I trusted, the respectable people come down on me, the ones from whom I was hoping to find help. The hypocrites, even the drunkards come down on me as if there was a separate standard for them that justifies their own undisciplined disobedience while condemning mine.
13 But as for me, my prayer is to Thee, O LORD, at an acceptable time; O God, in the greatness of Thy loving kindness, answer me with Thy saving truth. 14 Deliver me from the mire, and do not let me sink; may I be delivered from my foes, and from the deep waters. 15 May the flood of water not overflow me, and may the deep not swallow me up, and may the pit not shut its mouth on me. 16 Answer me, O LORD, for Thy loving kindness is good; according to the greatness of Thy compassion, turn to me, 17 And do not hide Thy face from Thy servant, for I am in distress; answer me quickly.
Lord, I need answers! I canít hold out much longer. It seems like Iím almost gone now. Answer me in two ways, Father, and I know it will be best. First, answer me according to your time. Second, answer me according to your love. It seems like you are hiding. I havenít been able to find you. If you will answer me in your time and out of the goodness of your love, I will wait. But please make it soon!
18 Oh draw near to my soul and redeem it; ransom me because of my enemies! 19 Thou dost know my reproach and my shame and my dishonor; all my adversaries are before Thee. 20 Reproach has broken my heart, and I am so sick. And I looked for sympathy, but there was none, and for comforters, but I found none.21 They also gave me gall for my food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink. 22 May their table before them become a snare; and when they are in peace, may it become a trap. 23 May their eyes grow dim so that they cannot see, and make their loins shake continually.24 Pour out Thine indignation on them, and may Thy burning anger overtake them.25 May their camp be desolate; may none dwell in their tents. 26 For they have persecuted him whom Thou thyself hast smitten, and they tell of the pain of those whom Thou hast wounded. 27 Do Thou add iniquity to their iniquity, and may they not come into Thy righteousness. 28 May they be blotted out of the book of life, and may they not be recorded with the righteous. 29 But I am afflicted and in pain; may Thy salvation, O God, set me securely on high.30 I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.31 And it will please the LORD better than an ox or a young bull with horns and hoofs.32 The humble have seen it and are glad; you who seek God, let your heart revive. 33 For the LORD hears the needy, and does not despise His who are prisoners.
Lord, you know exactly how I feel. Iíve tried to find strength in people but that hasnít worked. There is no way I can purchase protection from you, Lord, but you know how I feel. I will simply praise you, and thank you, and wait. I have your assurance that you hear the needy. You do not despise those you have allowed to be captive by some problem or vice. Surely you are in control; you are aware of my problems. I will wait on you.
34 Let heaven and earth praise Him, the seas and everything that moves in them. 35 For God will save Zion and build the cities of Judah, that they may dwell there and possess it.
Thank you, Lord, for the assurance that you will save your people! You will rescue me!