‘I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert;
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.’ (Ps 55: 6 – 8)
Have you ever felt like running away? Whenever we face a tough day, my wife jokingly says, “let’s just go and join the circus!”
We all know what it feels like to have had enough. You’ve been trying to do the right thing for so long, but there are no signs of change around the corner and no hope of a reprieve from the stress.
David, the author of this psalm, like so many of us, believes that flying away to a quiet place is just what he needs right now. A shelter from the storm, far away from his troubles.
There are times when the physical removal from a situation is the best course of action. A person in a dangerous or toxic relationship; a situation that might put your or a loved ones’ health or safety at risk. And sometimes, even just a temporary break from something can be the very thing we need to ‘come up for air’ for a while.
But for many of us, a frustrating, ongoing scenario, with no end in sight, is the order of the day. How do we endure?
David calls on God with great confidence that He will save him (Ps 55: 16). He is quite desperate, but he is calling on God continually (evening, morning and noon – v 17), and with the certain knowledge that ‘he hears my voice’. We might be tempted to think that praying lots of words, or the same prayer over and over is what will move God to answer, but it is not the number of times David prays that matters. It is David’s conviction that the Lord hears his voice. It is the consistency of God’s faithfulness. David rests his faith on the faithfulness of God.
In fact, so confident is David of God’s rescue and help, he believes he will eventually escape ‘unharmed’, despite the odds, that ‘many oppose me’ (v 18). Why is he so sure of God’s intervention? Verse 19 tells us why.
‘God, who is enthroned from of old,
who does not change—
he will hear them and humble them,
because they have no fear of God.’
God is enthroned from of old. In other translations, God has ruled forever; he abides from old. God has been sovereign for all eternity up to this moment, and so nothing can rise above Him; nothing can outlast Him or live on outside of His decree. What seems to David to be endless, will surely be brought to a close by the One whose throne is forever.
And that’s true for you and me as well. God will not allow a temptation or situation to endure beyond what we can bear. One day we will escape this life, with all its sufferings, but for the current situation there is always the hope that,
‘His anger is but for a moment,
His favour is for life;
Weeping may endure for a night,
But joy comes in the morning’ (Ps 30: 5)
Suggested prayer: Next time you find yourself enduring a difficult situation, remind yourself of God’s faithfulness and the fact that His throne has been established forever. Thank him that He knows all about the challenges you face and that you can trust him for the joy that is to come.