And I say, Oh, that I had wings like a dove!I would fly away and be at rest;yes, I would wander far away;I would lodge in the wilderness; SelahI would hurry to find a shelterfrom the raging wind and tempest.– Psalm 55:6-8
Thursday, November 20, 2014
It used to be the fashion and possibly it is still to think this psalm was written by David as he fled from his son, Absalom. Some of the elements could suggest that, but it is often the case that, as Jesus said, our enemies are those of our own household. My worst enemy cannot be escaped by flight for I drag him with me wherever I go. Aside from that, all of us have probably had a faithless friend or a family member who has betrayed or turned against us in some way. The loss of trust, and what often appears from our point of view as a sudden, inexplicable change in attitude, may leave us devastated.
Of course, the cause of our seeking an escape doesn’t have to be dramatic. Sometimes the daily drudge, the minor but cumulative trials of living in the 21st Century have us gazing with longing at our wallpaper of a remote tropical paradise or a secluded mountain cabin or, in my case, something with two wheels rather than two wings. Just to think of getting away from the usual suspects of pressures, demands and responsibilities can give us a respite.
As my trigonometry teacher used to say, “The whole world’s insane. I’m the only sane one left.” It’s not hard to think as we look around that somehow we have put the deranged in control of the ship. Yeats wrote nearly a hundred years ago “Things fall apart … The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.” The plague has only spread in the decades intervening. There is no remedy within the world. We must rise out of it and get above it, until the flood subsides.
And it will subside.
It may be a hundred more years or five hundred more or a hundred thousand. I do not know. I only know the Holy Spirit came upon Jesus in the form of a dove, and that He gives wings to our soul as He dwells in us. He is the Comforter, and nothing, save our own foolish obstinacy, can separate us from Him. He keeps us in the innocence of the dove even as He gives us subtle wisdom to make us more than a match for the serpent’s guile.