Sometimes we go through difficult situations in life to the extent that we feel as if we are drowning; the circumstances seem overwhelming, like powerful waves taking us under the water. What are we to do in such moments?
The Psalmist writes, "Out of the depths I cry to you, Lord; Lord hear my voice" (Psalm 130:1). Although we may experience "the depths" in life in relation to physical sickness or emotional struggles, the context of Psalm 130 is acknowledgement of the depths of our sinful condition. As the people of Israel were making their pilgrimage to worship at the temple, they were anticipating the sacrifices that would be made for their sins. The thought of worshiping a holy God in Jerusalem brought about an intense awareness on the part of the pilgrims, a recognition that, because of sin and rebellion, they were unworthy to be in the presence of the Lord.
Yet, there is good news. The Psalmist goes on to write, "But with you there is forgiveness, so that we can, with reverence, serve you" (v. 4). The Gospel is centered on the truth of God's loving nature as demonstrated in the way Christ died for us while we were still sinners (see Romans 5:8). When we cry out to God from the depths of our being, we are truly heard; God's ears welcome cries for mercy.
Ernest Hemingway started one of his short stories entitled "The Capital of the World" with the following lines:
Madrid is full of boys named Paco, which is diminutive of the name Francisco, and there is a Madrid joke about a father who came to Madrid and inserted an advertisement in the personal columns of El Liberal which said:
PACO, MEET ME AT HOTEL MONTANA NOON TUESDAY.
ALL IS FORGIVEN.
and how a squadron of Guardia Civil had to be called out to disperse the eight hundred young men who answered the advertisement.
While Hemingway's humor is geared toward the popularity of the name "Paco" in Spain, the story also illustrates the desire people have to be forgiven. Our God is the God of "prodigal Pacos," children who have been on the run but desperately desire reconciliation. Our heavenly Father longs for us to experience His forgiveness and mercy and He has advertised the extent of his love through the sending of His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the "once and for all" sacrifice for our sins, thus providing the means of redemption.
If you feel like a prodigal Paco today, take heart. There is always hope with Christ. The Psalmist ended Psalm 130 with a message of hope as well:
Israel, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins. (vv. 7-8)
In order to reinforce the truth of God's forgiveness, read these verses again but insert your name in place of Israel. For example, in my case....
Mark, put your hope in the Lord, for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption. He himself will redeem Mark from all his sins.
Pretty powerful, isn't it? Good news for prodigal Pacos!