The elastic stretch of faith
O LORD, do not stay far away! You are my strength; come quickly to my aid!
Psalm 22:19 NLT
These words were written as a prayer by King David, the renowned godly, worshipful and generally righteous leader of Israel. He saw Israel become prosperous and secure, as never before. Yet — perhaps because of His dogged devotion to God — he attracted some vicious opposition.
Good dispels evil, but it also attracts the attention of evil.
There is a prophetic picture in this psalm which is a remarkable fit with the circumstances of Jesus undergoing crucifixion. According to Mark and Matthew, His last words were the opening words — the context of today's verse — which are: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"
What is happening in heaven can seem disconnected with what we are experiencing on earth. Prayers, even desperate ones, can appear to be unheard and unanswered.
But David, in our verse, puts "Do not stay far away!" together with what he believes and trusts: "You are my strength".
When we cry out to God and nothing seems to happen, it is good to be reminded that this is normal!
The gospel accounts of healings and deliverances are very compressed accounts. They can read as more instant than they are. There is usually a time element in there. Sometimes Jesus asks His question again. Sometimes He prays again. Sometimes the salvation occurs as the person starts to journey back. We don't have a full picture of how long Jesus was with the sufferer.
Faith is like a bungee rope which connects our appeal with receiving heaven's response. For a time it just pulls out. You have jumped off Clifton Suspension Bridge in your harness and it feels like free fall, far too long in free fall! But this is normal. This is where faith is generated, and does its work. This is wherer the bungee takes up its tension.
Where are you, in your feeling of 'plunge to disaster' right now? Is it the terrifying weightlessness of free fall? Or are you starting to feel the restraining pull of heaven's support? What matters is not wavering from our declaration: "God, You are my strength". Especially when it really doesn't feel like it.