By Robert Halsey Pine
David’s struggles outlined in the Psalms can be lessons for us today:
“My heart is in anguish within me, the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fear and trembling come upon me, and horror overwhelms me. And I say, “O that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; truly, I would flee far away; I would lodge in the wilderness; I would hurry to find a shelter for myself from the raging wind and tempest.” (Psalm 55 NRSV).
David is about ready to turn things over to God. It’s almost funny how we push ourselves to the brink with our worry and fear before we ask God for help. David was no different than us. He tried things his way and when things began to fall apart he cried to God for help. God has the most reasonable rates in town yet we’ll go down the street and pay through the nose. When we’re broke and beaten down we go back uptown to God’s place.
We sometimes get this helpless attitude. The “whatever will be, will be” thing jumps all over us. Believe it or not, God expects us to take charge of our situations. He wants us to take charge in the sense that we make the choices that impact the outcomes of the situations in our lives. Life for us really boils down to the choices we make. Choosing God as Him in whom we trust should be our first choice. It’s much easier from then on.
One night I was going with a group of brothers in Christ for a monthly visit to a state prison 90 miles north of our town. When we walked into the HIV positive dorm area, we soon saw many of the 300 AIDS infected men moving about the area. We began our reunion meeting with about thirty or forty inmates at about 7:30 p.m. We heard testimony from the inmates about working out the Godly life in their challenging atmosphere. Some told of failures and tests. Many thanked God for what he is doing in their lives and how they are encouraging others in the Lord.
Like David, the inmates have reason for their hearts to be in anguish. In a prison dorm where many die each year from complications of the AIDS virus, the terror of death has fallen upon them. Fear and trembling and horror try to overwhelm them. They wish that they could fly like a dove, to be at rest from the prison walls and the AIDS virus. They are conflicted with seeking the wilderness; while at the same time they are seeking shelter. The psalmist, David, instructs himself and all of us when he says, “Cast your burden on the LORD, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.