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Oh, That I Had Wings Like a Dove!

There comes a time in many lives where the source of deep hurt may come from those we love most and have cherished.
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King David experienced this with his close, trusted adviser Ahithophel, whom he called,

“a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance. We took sweet counsel together, and walked into the house of God in company.” (Psa 55:13-14).

Today, we can accurately diagnose the source of Ahithophel’s deceit, knowing that he was the grandfather of Bathsheba, whom David took in adultery and whose husband, Uriah, he murdered (2 Samuel 11:3 and 2 Samuel 23:24). The Biblical record exposed the deceit of Ahithophel’s subsequent words to David,

“the words of his mouth were smoother than butter, but war was in his heart: his words were softer than oil, yet they were drawn swords.” (v. 21).

The betrayal by Ahithophel, to a lesser man than David, would have probably shaken the faith of the King of Israel. There is little pain that strikes deeper than being hurt by those we count as the most important people in our lives. Some have walked alongside us in the Truth, laboring together with us for years. When this breach occurs, and thankfully it is rare, it can lead us to feel exactly as David did.

David’s reaction was, “Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest.” (v. 6). Retreat can seem like an answer. As David said,

“I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.” (v. 7-8).

However, the wilderness makes for a poor permanent residence. We may feel a brief respite from the tempest. Isolating ourselves during times of conflict is often a reaction brought on by fear. We dread further negative interactions, so it may seem logical to find a solitary place to avoid further interchanges. But, as the Apostle John wrote,

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18).

The wilderness is not where we discover and practice love. Rather, it leads us to feelings of self-justification, which compel us to look for sympathizers to rally around us. It is not the place for the people of God to take residence. If you have experienced such feelings, you may know your mind can be taken captive during such times with such thoughts as: “What should I say? What shouldn’t I say? Should I say anything? What can I do to fix this?”

Isolating ourselves during times of conflict is often a reaction brought on by fear.

These are moments of great anxiety. They gnaw at you. They occupy your days. It can make you doubt the fundamentals of your faith. It is a terrible place to be. It is much like David described, “My heart is sore pained within me.” (v. 4). David said that “fearfulness and trembling are come upon me, and horror hath overwhelmed me.” (v. 5). So, how did David end this downward spiral?

First, David called upon God. His prayers—morning, noon and evening—were filled with him crying for deliverance. He knew that if he were to be delivered, it would be because God would hear him and respond. David’s lovely words were,

“Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and he will sustain thee: he will never suffer the righteous to be moved.” (v. 22).

Is it really this simple? Can we just assume that God will sustain us and never allow our burden to overcome us? Yes! Only when we turn our pain and conflict over to our Lord can we begin to feel almost immediate relief. Many Bible characters were able to look back in their lives to obtain the needed evidence for trusting in God during their moment of need. When David faced Goliath, he did so confidently because God had already provided him His protection in victories over the lion and the bear.

During the last 17 years of his life, the patriarch Jacob concluded it was “God which fed me all my life long unto this day, the Angel which redeemed me from all evil” (Gen 48:15-16). When we feel exposed or vulnerable, it is always important for us to apply this lesson. Israel failed when they “forgat his works, and his wonders that he had shewed them.” (Psa 78:11).

When we pause to look back at how God has always been faithful to us when we trusted in Him, it allows us to experience the peace we thought could only be obtained in the wilderness. The Lord Jesus encourages us to,

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt 11:29 NLT).

Humility and gentleness—that is what the Lord had and what we need when we are burdened. A broken and contrite spirit is required. If we wish for the Lord to give us rest, we need to trust in him and his yoke unequivocally. How can we know if we are embracing humility and gentleness during times of such trials?  As is the case in so many solutions for godly men and women, the answer is drawn from our Lord’s example. He was abused and persecuted in ways that none of us have experienced. Yet, the Apostle Peter wrote,

“Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” (1 Pet 2:23).

Jesus counted on the goodness of his Father. While he endured pain and ridicule,

“God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow” (Phil 2:9-10).

Peter’s counsel to the servants of God is that any solution to our trials, lies exclusively in the hands of Him who judges righteously—our God. Nothing occurs that He has not yet seen. If we are to obtain justice, it is by His elevation, not ours. So, if we find ourselves wrestling with a desire for justification and fairness—we need to surrender our self-reliance. Peter continues,

“Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.” (1 Pet 4:19).

Of course, in most trials, there is great opportunity for learning. The chastening of our loving God is for our benefit. We ask:

“What could I have done differently? Were there chances to deal with this issue before it exploded? How can I demonstrate love to my brother now? How can this experience yield in me ‘the peaceable fruit of righteousness’ by the exercise of my mind?” (Heb 12:11).

When we forgive those who have wronged us, it provides valuable insight into our own need for forgiveness by our God.

When we experience the pain and deep emotion of being betrayed, abused or unfairly rebuked, we know that this is not something we ever want to go through again. Best to take King Solomon’s advice about how to control our response,

“Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.” (Prov 12:16 NIV).

Additionally, we must conclude that, if we are people of love, we never want to be the one to impose a similar situation on our brother. Let us love one another, prefer one another and do so through lowliness of mind. For “we have the mind of Christ.” (1 Cor 2:16).

Dave Jennings



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