“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Psalm 55:22
In the movie Forrest Gump there is a memorable scene of Jenny when she was a little girl praying in the corn field with Forrest. Trying to get away from her inebriated and abusive father she grabs Forrest’s hand, runs into a field of tall cornstalks, falls to her knees, and cries, “Pray with me, Forrest! Pray with me!” She then starts her desperate lament, “Dear God, make me a bird so I can fly far, far-far away from here. Dear God, make me a bird so that I can fly far, far-far away.” In the movie, God answers that prayer – not by making her a bird, of course; but by having the police take her to live with her grandmother.
Over three thousand years before Forrest Gump ever came into time-space history, King David wrote a similar prayer: “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest; yes, I would wander far away; I would lodge in the wilderness… …I would hurry to find a shelter from the raging wind and tempest.” Just like the movie-screen Jenny did, the mighty King David was earnestly pleading with God for refuge from those that were harming him. He was praying for refuge from those that were speaking against him, oppressing him, ‘dropping trouble upon him’, and in anger bearing a grudge against him (v.3). He was also praying for comfort from the betrayal he had experienced, the hurt that he felt over the loss of a dear friend, the insolence inflicted upon him, and from all the wickedness he was witnessing in the world around him (vv.9-15). Unlike the movie character Jenny, the Psalm gives no evidence of a clear-cut answer to David’s requests. Instead, we read an exhortation: “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” And, the Psalm ends with David making an affirmation of faith: “But, I will trust in you” (v. 23).
Earlier I was thinking about a situation in my life that has been really trying, and David’s prayer “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest…” came to my mind. But, as I thought about the situation in my life and this prayer, I realized that even if I did have the wings of a dove I wouldn’t be able to escape the difficulty of my trying situation. I realized that even if the Lord did turn me into a bird and I could ‘…fly far, far-far away’ from the people that have hurt me; no matter where I flew the hurt would still be with me. In other words, it dawned on me that a geographical cure wouldn’t work. Getting away won’t bring healing or comfort, neither will it provide me a refuge from the raging tempest of the enemy. My major issue: I can’t escape from myself. Even if the wrongdoers repented of their wrongdoing against me today, I would still be feeling all the emotions that come with betrayal and hurt. I would still feel the bewildered hurt that comes with an unexpected betrayal. I would still feel the frustration over the damage that has been done to my reputation by the lies that have been told. I would still feel the disappointment over the insolent behavior of those whom I trusted. Sprouting wings won’t heal a broken heart; neither will it calm a troubled mind.
God can heal a broken heart and He can calm a troubled mind. David prays, “Give ear to my prayer, O God, and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!” In other words, he says “God please listen to me, please don’t turn away from me when I need You.” And, after He lays it all out before the Lord, he counsels me, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
So, I can cast my burden on the Lord. I can trust Him with the bewildered hurt I feel over the betrayal. My reputation is in His hands, and if he so chooses to let it remain damaged – I can trust Him with that too. I can trust Him to protect me from insolent people– I do not need to defend myself or fly away to be at rest. I only need to cast my anxieties on Him and to trust Him and He will bring me through it all. He always has and He always will.