It only takes a few difficult or scary experiences to shatter our innocent optimism and throw us into a deep awareness of the darkness and pain present in the world. This awareness keeps us always looking over our shoulder and approach each turn in the road with an unrest that sits deep in the gut. And with today’s growing secularism, there is a growing unrest. Is there really no one at the control panel of this insane roller coaster? Help me doctor. I need to get my anxiety under control.
Peace, if it exists, can only be rooted in something that is fundamentally bigger than the world itself. As I was reflecting on the 57th Psalm this week, I noticed something striking about the picture it paints about the nature of hope and the God of the Bible. King David is in a deep dilemma. His life is in on the line. Enemies surround him. How does he find peace?
“In the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me.” (Ps. 57:1-3)
Who is David? Who is this shepherd boy from a small town. What is he worth? What does he matter in a universe infinitely greater than him? Comparatively speaking, we are but a speck of dust. And yet the striking thing here about God is not merely that he is portrayed as infinitely powerful, but that he is infinitely personal. In the battles of life, David knows that he is not at mercy of fate or karma. He is not struggling against blind and careless forces. All the hope in the Psalm flows from his confidence in the fact that God knows him specifically, and that God is actually present with purpose in the struggle David faces.
There is no therapy or medication that can cure a restless heart. The only thing big enough to settle our heart is the embrace of the One who made it. It is precisely for that embrace that he crafted our hearts. He made us in such a way that we cannot live without his love. This is the amazing thing. This is what David sees. This is what arrests his heart in perfect peace in the midst of the challenges and threats that swirl around him.