Seeking and expressing
I’ve always liked stories and analogies. You can speak a sentence of truth to me, and I’ll hear you. Relate that same truth in a word picture or in a story, and I will understand you.
I think that characteristic is what draws me to the psalms, especially ones that David wrote. While he wasn’t afraid to express his raw emotions, he was also rather creative in communicating how his circumstances were affecting him.
Read the psalm carefully, looking for David’s word pictures:
God, hear my cry; pay attention to my prayer.
I call to You from the ends of the earth
when my heart is without strength.
Lead me to a rock that is high above me,
for You have been a refuge for me,
a strong tower in the face of the enemy.
I will live in Your tent forever
and take refuge under the shelter of Your wings.
Since his heart is without strength, David is figuratively looking for a refuge, a safe place for shelter. In just a few lines, David describes his heart’s refuge in three distinct images.
Lead me to a rock that is high above me. In any military campaign, the high ground has strategic advantage over any enemy. The attacker has to contend with lousy sight-lines and little cover; whereas the one who controls the high ground is safe from many attacks and can readily defend against most others.
A strong tower in the face of the enemy. A tower was the best defended position in the city. Not only was it elevated, but it would also house supplies and weapons to keep it defended. The most important people took shelter in the tower when an enemy launched a full-frontal attack.
I will…take refuge under the shelter of Your wings. Clearly, this is a metaphor – David isn’t advocating that God has feathers. However, the image that comes to mind here is quite powerful. Under the protection of a parent’s wings, the young birds are protected from all sorts of outside influences. They are kept safe and have a special nearness with the one who is providing the protection.
David uses all three descriptions to explain the kind of refuge for his weary heart to find in God. Each of these images can grab our attention in ways that a normal, straight-forward statement cannot. By using these very descriptive words, David is able to express exactly what he needs and clearly relay that to us.
What metaphor would you use to describe your relationship with God when your heart is without strength? How could you communicate your desire to know Him when times are difficult?
Evaluating our relationship with God in these picture-driven words can help us express our feelings to God, and potentially draw in others. I encourage you to give it a try.