Perhaps only that record-breaking-Jeopardy-genius guy knows that the tiny South Pacific island nation of Tuvalu is sinking into the deep blue sea. One can scarcely imagine a fate worse than slowly sinking into oblivion: Gurgle! Glop! Gone!
The Psalmist knows that sinking feeling as he cried: "Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mireand the flood sweeps over me" (Ps. 69:1-2).
We know the feeling: been there, done that, bought the T-shirt. We get that sinking feeling when we face a doctor's bad news. We get that sinking feeling when we can't seem to get a wayward child on track. We get that feeling when a spouse doesn't return home until very late. We get that feeling when the monthly income doesn't match the monthly expenses. We get that feeling when an addiction has wrapped its spiny fingers about our throat or the throat of a loved one and is pulling us under, deeper and deeper.
We can imagine with the Psalmist the scene of deadly quicksand slowly pulling us under the thick, brown, gooey slop. However, the Psalmist sings praises filled with gratitude because a strong rescuing hand reaches into the crashing bellowing waves and pulls the victim from the pit of despair and places him safely on land. The rescued one gratefully sings: "I waited patiently for the Lord; He heard my cry. He drew me up from the desolate pit, out of the miry bog, and set my feet on rock" (Ps. 40:1-2).
"HE DREW ME UP!" What wonderful comforting words! God initiates the pulling action. At times life may be like a bowl of cherries and you find yourself in the pits, but God promises to pull you up from that mucky bog when you get all "bogged" down.
However, let us remember that our rescue doesn't happen in the blink of an eye. Those who have been brought up from the pits of despair testify to the harrowing journey. Some, like Jacob, walk forever with a limp. Some like Saul who became Paul still had a "thorn in the flesh." There is an anonymous saying attributed to a Hassidic rabbi: "I walk, I fall, I get up. I walk, I fall, I get up. All the while, I keep dancing." We keep dancing by continuing to joyfully praise God for His past deliverances and by remembering that you can "overcome all things through Christ who strengthens you" (Phil. 4:13).
Tuvalu may be sinking and perhaps nothing can be done about it. But if we've got that sinking feeling, break out in praise and "wait patiently", for God is about to up-draw us from the bog and set our feet on solid ground.