Have you ever experienced fear or pain so intense you wished you could fall asleep and wake up on the other side of it? We all face emotional storms in life that tempt us to give up or run away. I think that’s how David must have been feeling when he penned Psalm 55. On the heels of betrayal by a close friend, he wrote:
My heart is in anguish within me; the terrors of death have fallen on me. Fear and trembling have beset me; horror has overwhelmed me. 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.’Psalm 55:4-8 NIV
Literally translated, he is saying, “Who will give me wings like a dove?” Have you ever found yourself frantically asking the same thing? Who will rescue me? Who will help me? Who will get me through this…beyond this?
Often when faced with something overwhelming our first instinct is to avoid it at all costs. We shut down. We reach for something to numb the pain. We just want to escape.
The Old Testament character of Jonah tried that kind of running. Did you know Jonah’s name is actually the Hebrew word for “dove?”
When we desire to flee simply to escape the unpleasantness of our current reality, we might be tempted to ask, “Who will give me wings like Jonah?” But that’s the wrong kind of flying. We don’t want to run the way Jonah did, away from God.
When the psalmist says he wants to “fly away and find rest,” he’s looking for a place to settle, to dwell, to abide. He’s not looking for the momentary relief of an afternoon power nap. He is desperate for long term peace and security.
The beautiful reality for the follower of Jesus is that we have the promise of this kind of rest without needing to sprout wings. Our shelter from the raging storm is neither remote nor inaccessible. It’s Jesus Himself. And He is right there with us in the middle of every storm we face.
Who will give us wings like a dove? Well, the good news is, we don’t need them. We have all we need in the person and presence of Jesus — our Prince of Peace.
He tells us to abide in Him.
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.John 15:9 ESV
He will hold us securely.
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.John 10:28 NIV
He will give us rest.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28 NIV
His words are all the wings we need.
I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.John 16:33 NIV
Take flight on the promises of Jesus, and let them bring you close to His heart, where you can know peace beyond all understanding or explaining, even while the storm keeps raging.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.Philippians 4:6-7 NIV