I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God.
More in number than the hairs of my head are those who hate me without cause; many are those who would destroy me, my enemies who accuse me falsely. What I did not steal must I now restore?
O God, you know my folly; the wrongs I have done are not hidden from you.
Do not let those who hope in you be put to shame because of me, O Lord God of hosts; do not let those who seek you be dishonored because of me, O God of Israel.
It is for your sake that I have borne reproach, that shame has covered my face.
I have become a stranger to my kindred, an alien to my mother's children.
It is zeal for your house that has consumed me; the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
When I humbled my soul with fasting, they insulted me for doing so.
When I made sackcloth my clothing, I became a byword to them.
I am the subject of gossip for those who sit in the gate, and the drunkards make songs about me.
But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of your steadfast love, answer me.
With your faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters.
Do not let the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the Pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, O Lord, for your steadfast love is good; according to your abundant mercy, turn to me.
Do not hide your face from your servant, for I am in distress—make haste to answer me.
Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies.
You know the insults I receive, and my shame and dishonor; my foes are all known to you.
Insults have broken my heart, so that I am in despair. I looked for pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none.
They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
Let their table be a trap for them, a snare for their allies.
Let their eyes be darkened so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually.
- Psalm 69:1-23
First of all, today I defer to my colleague, the Rev. Karen Haig.
“Before You Were Born” by Toad the Wet Sprocket is a song about a person who may always have felt like this Psalmist. I couldn’t find the studio version, so here’s a live version, and also the lyrics.
What strikes me most about the song is that there is apparently a community of people walking with the subject through his pain on the road to redemption: “Just keep on there breathing/ We’ll help you down the long, long road back home.”