I don’t understand how he could do it. I trusted him. I considered him my friend. I don’t know how many times I confided in him and looked to him for advice and now he’s stabbing me in the back. He’s become my enemy. He’s taken sides against me and joined the other camp. I can’t believe the things he’s saying and doing. Is he even the same person? He’s completely betrayed me and worse still, he’s actively plotting against me.”
King David was hurting badly. It’s hard to take when someone you trust turns against you, but that’s exactly what his personal counselor did. Ahithophel was David’s confidential adviser but he switched sides when David’s son, Absalom, led the rebellion against his father. For David, Ahithophel’s betrayal was like someone knifing him in the back. “For it is not an enemy who taunts me – then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me – then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. We used to take sweet counsel together; within God’s house we walked in the throng” (Ps 55:12-14, ESV).
But the relationship had come to a sharp and bitter end. Ahithophel is now plotting to bring King David down. It is a huge and hurtful trial for the king. That’s probably the background of Psalm 55 when David cries out in deep distress: “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Ps 55:6).
“Lord, I can’t take this any longer. Let me run. Let me escape. I just want to be at rest. I can’t take the hurt, the pain, the hostility, and the turbulence any longer. I wish my arms were wings and that I could lift them and fly away like a dove.” Perhaps you can relate to David’s desire as you read this. But read on. David got beyond his escapist desires and his flight impulses. The real answer to his hurt and deep wounds was found in not running away. He stated the formula for relief and rest this way: “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shallsustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved” (Ps 55:22).
The Apostle Paul was besieged by a personal problem that would not go away. He recalled three occasions when he asked God to take it out of his life, but God didn’t. He told Paul: “My grace is sufficient for thee. For My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Cor 12:8-10).
The Apostle James said that we should not try to escape a trial or to cut it short because the Lord is doing a work in our lives through all the pain. “Consider it wholly joyful, my brethren, whenever you are enveloped in or encounter any trials or fall into various temptations. Be assured that the trial and proving of your faith brings out endurance, steadfastness, and patience. But let endurance, steadfastness, and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing” (James 1:2-4 Amplified). William MacDonald writes: “We should not short-circuit the development of endurance in our lives. By cooperating with God, we will become mature, well-rounded Christians, lacking in none of the graces of the Spirit.”
As the pressure grows, pain intensifies and problems multiply, cast your burden upon the Lord and He will sustain you. He won’t give us a set of dove’s wings. He has given us a set of knees. If we use what He has given us He will enable us to mount up with wings as eagles – not doves! (Isa 40:31).