RUNNING AWAY - Week of February 19th

By Judy Nichols

February 19, 2017


   When my husband was a boy, he and his twin brother decided to run away from home one afternoon. I don’t know what their beef was, but they evidently felt they’d had enough. They made a critical mistake, though. They told their Dad about their plan. Being a shrewd as well as wise father, he took the news in stride, helped them each pack a little bag of necessities, and then suggested they stay for supper so they wouldn’t get hungry so quickly. This seemed like a good idea and so it was that after supper they said their farewells and walked out the front door. Did I mention it was now dark outside? Their dad shut the door and turned off the porch light. Suddenly, running away did not seem quite so good an idea as it had in the light of day.

    We have probably all entertained the thought of running away, and not just as children. Sometimes our grown-up circumstances are so pressing that we just want to get away from them. I certainly have felt that way. So it was a comfort to me to know that David, the great king of Israel also had those feelings. One of the places he expressed them is Psalm 55.

    He goes into some detail to express how he feels. He is seeking God but he is also seeking answers; he is restless and distracted (v.1-2). He feels anguish and terror, fear and trembling. He is overwhelmed (v. 4-5). And then he says, "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" (v. 6-7). The word "Selah" follows this sentence; it means pause for contemplation.

    As I thought about it, I was impressed by the intensity. He doesn’t just want to fly away, he wants to go far, far away. He even would live in the wilderness which was a totally inhospitable place. If his present situation makes the wilderness look appealing, then it must be really bad!

    He goes on for some verses, appealing for God to judge and destroy his enemies. After unburdening himself, he comes to the point of expressing his trust in God. He says, "But I call to God and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and He hears my voice. He redeems my soul in safety from the battle that I wage" (v. 16-17). He is going to pester God continually, confident of His care.

    He gives a piece of advice to those in similar circumstances. "Cast your burden on the Lord, and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved" (v. 22). When I want to run away, it matters not where, it is comforting to know that I am secure in the care of One who willingly carries my burdens and promises to sustain me. Like my husband and his brother, who never left the porch but knocked on the door just minutes later, I find it best to knock on God’s door and stay where I am loved and cared for.

© Judy Nichols 2017

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