Pop-rock pioneer of the 2000’s, Avril Lavigne, after an absence of five years has produced a worship song that reveals her cry to God for help after encountering a near-death experience. She has been battling Lyme disease since 2014. Her new single, “Head Above Water,” depicts her struggle.
“God keep my head above water/ Don’t let me drown/ It gets harder/ I’ll meet you there at the altar/ As I fall down to my knees/ Don’t let me drown/ Don’t let me drown” are the words of the chorus. She apparently had a experience of meeting God in an experience she describes as being on her knees at the altar.
I down loaded her song because her heart felt lyrics are words I could identify with when I have felt like being underwater. There was a time in the early 2000’s when I was on the verge of depression. My wife told me that if I didn’t get out of my “pit,” she was going to take me to our personal physician so I could get a prescription for depression. I was able to climb out of the pit, only by keeping my spiritual eyes on Jesus and crying out for mercy. My experience made me appreciate those believers who fall into the pit and struggle to get out.
Ms Lavigne’s words are heart felt. “And I can’t see in the stormy weather/ I can’t seem to keep it all together/ And I can’t swim the ocean like this forever/ And I can’t breathe.” At the time, I had been a pastor for 30 years, having been in a lot of stormy weather. But I was not keeping it all together. I was underwater, having difficulty breathing spiritually. I was simply going through the motions, not allowing anyone to know how weak and fragile I felt. Life was like stormy weather. It was frustrating for my wife. But thank God, she prayed me through the storm.
Avril shares her story of almost giving up. “God, keep my head above water/ I lose my breath at the bottom/ Come rescue me, I’ll be waiting/ I’m too young to fall asleep.” I wanted to be rescued, but I did not now how it would happen. I had to wait. The issue was my perspective of myself and God.
Psalm 40, while not giving the image of being under water, but rather of sinking into a “slimy pit,” gave me a picture that I could hang unto in my struggle. “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand” (Ps. 40:1-2).
The one image that has stayed with me is the sense that I was down in a pit, with my hands griping the opening above me, while a shaft of light streamed into the gloom of the pit. I had to keep my focus on the opening above me. The only thing I could do was to hang on and cry out for God to be merciful to me. I had to do this for myself. Either my wife and the few other guys who I had allowed into my life could help. Eventually the Lord placed me on a rock. As a result I had “a firm place to stand.”
So my advice to anyone feeling underwater or in a pit – hang on by simple trust in Jesus and cry out continually for mercy. You have not be abandoned. You will be stronger because of your trail. You will also have empathy for others in the pit.