"LORD, how are they increased that trouble me! Many are they that rise up against me."
You may be familiar with the saying, "Waiting for the other shoe to drop." Though it tends to reflect a more negative outlook than I want to confess mine, it does carry with it an undeniable truism to which many I imagine can well relate.
Trouble comes in bunches. No wonder Jesus tells us not to worry about tomorrow for today has enough worry of its own.
Last week was one of those weeks where 'the other shoe' never stopped dropping. It felt like an entire shoe store of them.
When, well after nightfall Sunday, the hot water pipes under my house burst, I could really relate, at least in part, to David's words above.
That moment held the proverbial straw. My chest tightened, my breathing became labored. Stress, culminating from two days already carrying enough emotional difficulty to last me years, conspired to due me in.
David, attempting to express to the LORD the weight of emotions bearing down upon him used a specific word for 'trouble' that paints a picture I particularly relate to: narrow, tight place, crowding.
Maybe it's because I'm claustrophobic ... but narrow, tight places, be they physical or emotional, elicit in me a desperateness I hear in David's words.
A sense of conspiracy ... an 'againstness' reflected in David's choice of word when he wrote 'increase' (cast together, multiply) to describe what he felt his portion in that moment. What I felt mine.
David knew the feeling .... a feeling all too easily leading to despair.
My enemies, unlike David's, are not mortal enemies. They are not conspiring to take my physical life.
No, they are after more.
They are enemies of my soul. Enemies that would rob me of victory already mine in Christ.
Enemies that would have me doubt "God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God ... to those called according to His purpose to be conformed to the image of His Son."
David was king of Israel. He had entrusted himself to God while Saul sought to take his life.
As difficult as that may have been, this current betrayal reached far deeper into David's heart, leaving him feeling helpless. His own son would take David's life were Absalom to find him. And this father could not turn his hand against his own son.
David probably felt he'd never been in a narrower, tighter, more troubling spot in all his days.
And he cried out. With a loud voice.
I can relate. That's what trials can do. Make one recognize a helplessness we don't naturally want to recognize ... or confess as ours.
But it's a helplessness remains essential for us to understand if God is to do His work in our situation, in our life.
Trials conspire (gather together) against us to open our eyes to salvation.
That may not be their goal if initiating from our enemy. However, it will always be the outcome when, crying out to God, we submit them to His hands.
I find I never move far away from Joseph's words to his brothers upon their confession.
"What you intended for evil, God intended for good."
Narrow, tight places, by God's design, eventually turn our eyes towards Him.
It is then He will lift up our head.
In those moments, when we no longer are trusting in ourselves, He becomes for us our true shield of protection.
I still remember the last thing I said to my son Sunday night after we were finally able to get the water to the house turned off, despite the pitch-black hanging overhead.
"I won't sleep a wink tonight."
The LORD remembered something I'd forgotten, for before I closed my eyes I'd surrendered the clay having endured those past three days to the Potter's hand.
I slept like a baby.
I've learned, again, what David hadn't forgotten.
"I lie down and sleep; I wake again, because the LORD sustains me."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
DeAnna Brooks (December 5, 2007)
Having raised four children, I live now in Texas. Mostly my writing is a sojourn with God. I find myself ever planted in Eden, glorying in its abundant and rich communion with the Almighty. Or, I am looking back, with longing. And the sojourn continues.