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Hope is Now: Leap Over a Wall

Reflections from Our Pastors

   C.S. Lewis, a little surprisingly, called Psalm 18 his favorite Psalm. It’s categorized as a “royal thanksgiving,” that is, the king expressing gratitude to God for deliverance. Psalm 18 is almost identically repeated in 2 Samuel 22 – as a song David sings in delighted thankfulness for God saving him, helping him, and bringing him into power.

“I am devoted to you” or maybe “I love you.” Such a simple declaration – surprising, maybe, from a powerful king, but setting an example for all of us. I have my flaws, my doubts, my anxieties – but I am devoted to you; I love you. That’s what God really wants, right? Thomas Merton prayed, “Let this be my consolation – that, wherever I am, You, my Lord, are loved.”

Psalm 18 alludes to horrors, moments of feeling trapped and totally lost, prior to God’s deliverance. No Psalm has more confidence in God in such situations. Who can’t admire verse 29? “By You I can crush troops; by my God I can leap over a wall?” And verse 33: “He made my feet like hinds’ feet, and set me secure on the heights.”

Hannah Hurnard wrote a devotional classic, ‘Hinds’ Feet on High Places,’ envisioning the hind with deft feet navigating high and daunting locales, as symbolic of a spiritual life that can face and cope with challenges. You have to admire the way the Psalms touch on visible, known, cherished images of creatures in creation finding the way to be devoted to God.

Can we “leap over a wall”? No? We live in a day when, politically, walls seem to be what we should erect for our security. What does it mean, theologically, to see our God as the One who enables us – or others who are suffering – to leap over a wall?

There is clearly some whitewashing here: the king (is it David?) claims that his hands are clean. Unlikely. How bad is it, really, when we whitewash idealized leaders? No one is up to the task – but to see our theological and spiritual heroes as amazing, and exemplary: what better samples might we ever find of the life with God?

The Psalm isn’t short. No worries! Taking some time to reach out to our Lord for help, to express during the darkest of days that God is our hope – and to hope in God. You might surprise yourself by improving your footwork, or even by leaping over a wall?

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