I was reading in Psalm 55 this morning. Quite the interesting Psalm. It really fits well when your life is on a roller coaster of ups and downs. I can't really say that my life has been like that lately, even though it has been hectic, with lots of unexpected happenings. Still, I know that the Lord will see me through. He will give me strength. In fact, when I am weak, that is when He is strong in my life. Is He strong all the time? Yes. The problem comes when I think I can do things myself or when I think "I" am strong. When it is all about me, then I don't let the Lord work in my life. I try to do it all. Like the little child, I shake off the hand of my Lord and try to do things on my own. Then I fall, then I mess up, then I cry out to Him! Save me! Help me! I am weak, He is strong. He was strong all along, but I haven't paid attention to His strength. In my weakness, my eyes are finally opened to His strength.
I read the line, "Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!" (Ps. 55:6 ESV) That sounds so wonderful in times of trouble, when things get tough. That is what we long for, to leave it all behind and go someplace where we can rest, someplace where we can find comfort and peace. But is that really the best thing for us? Is that what we truly need? Yes, there are times we need to get away. There are times when we need to withdraw, go off by ourselves, away from the grind of life, in order to be refreshed. That is what vacations are supposed to do - relax us. That is why churches have retreats - in order to refresh the participants. That is why there are marriage encounters - in order to give the couple time to withdraw from life in order to reconnect and strength their relationship. But they always have to go back into life once again.
As I read the Psalm, it struck me that verse 7 follows (all right, so that is kinda a "duh" statement). It reads, "Yes, i would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness." (Ps. 55:7 ESV) I would go to the wilderness. The imagery hit me this morning. To go off into the wilderness as a dove, would not always be the best thing to do. The wilderness is a "wild" place (another "duh" statement, bear with me). It is not a place that a dove would be "free" from all cares and worries. Doves don't fair well by themselves in the wilderness. There are many other wild animals and larger birds there. The dove would become fair game for them. Also, finding refuge away from the nest, is a tenuous proposition. Then there is the problem of finding food in an unknown area. (Just try to find a place to eat in an area that you have never been before!) To be off by yourself in an unknown area isn't really the wisest thing to do.
The Psalmist shows us a better way. "But I call to God and the Lord will save me." (Ps. 55:16 ESV) My heart wants to fly off like a dove but my faith calls to God. I want to be by myself but the Lord surrounds me with fellow members of the church to help me. I feel all alone but the Lord gives me strength in the family of God, feeding me through Word and Sacrament! Should I really run away? Should I really give up so easily? NO! Turn to God would will save you!
"Cast your burden on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved." (Ps. 55:22 ESV) "But I trust in you." (Ps. 55:23c ESV) The dove doesn't fly into the wilderness. It flies into the arms of the Lord. Fly to Him! Trust in Him. Live in Him! He will sustain and help you.