Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Saviour. Though my father and mother forsake me, the LORD will receive me. Teach me your way O LORD; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors. Do not hand me over to my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence. Psalm 27.9-12
The following excerpt is taken from ‘In the Presence of my Enemies – Reflections on Psalms 25-37 by Dale Ralph Davis* and reading it the extract jumped out at me and seemed so apposite in the light of our comments on that Psalm this week
Here is a psalm that recognises the yo-yo pattern of believing experience. Don’t multitudes of the Lord’s saints know what it is to move all too quickly from faith to fear, from trust to trouble, from resting in Yahweh to pleading for rescue? Oh, it still a matter of faith but the abiding faith of verses 1-6 has given way to the agitated faith of verses 7- 12. But doesn’t it help you when you run on to a text that makes you say, yes that’s the way things are! Living for Christ sometimes goes exactly like that! …. this complexity of the psalm reflects the way real things are.
The matter reminds me of an historical anomaly mention in one of Andrew Ferguson’s books. In 1864 Abraham Lincoln gave his hand-written draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to that Chicago Historical Society. The Society’s directors felt so honoured by this that in 1868 they built a splendid state-of-the-art repository for it on Chicago’s north side, and declared this abode to be invulnerable to any disaster by man or God (the Titanic anyone?) They dubbed it ‘the perfect fireproof structure’. It burned to ashes three years later and the hand draft of the ‘Proclamation’; with it. Completely fireproof and it burned up. It’s a paradox and hard to put together.
And that’s often the nature of believing experience: there is this and yet that. There’s enjoying the beauty of the Lord and then there’s facing an unnerving emergency. The calm of faith can become the crisis of faith. And they often occur in that sequence. How it should help the saints of God to lay hold of the text like Psalm 27, that says “Yes it can be like that.” The trauma of verses 7-12 doesn’t falsify the faith of verses 1-6 but deepens it.
*In the Presence of my Enemies. Dale Ralph Davis. Christian Focus