If you are an anxious person you are in good company. Most people are. It’s easy to imagine as an outsider looking at Christians you admire and think their life stops with the first line of Psalm 11: “In the Lord I take refuge…” Easy to imagine other people of faith who boldly go where no Christian has gone before, no wavering, no doubts, and to get mad at yourself because secretly you think you are all alone in your fears… “I trust you Lord, but I am tempted to run away…”
A man scolded his son for being unruly ~ the child rebelled against his father. He got some of his clothes, his teddy bear and his piggy bank and proudly announced, "I'm running away from home!"
The father calmly decided to look at the matter logically. "What if you get hungry?" he asked.
"Then I'll come home and eat!" bravely declared the child.
"And what if you run out of money?" "I will come home and get some!" readily replied the child.
The man then made a final attempt, "What if your clothes get dirty?" Then I'll come home and let mommy wash them," was the reply.
The man shook his head and exclaimed, "This kid is not running away from home; he's going off to college."
Running away never works! I found a website which answered the question how to run away. There were a lot of points, including making sure running away is really what you want to do, but if you decide, here are some of the points that make me smile:
* Try to bring some of your allowance, but don't take enough to get you noticed. Maybe $10 for a bus or other transportation, and $50 just in case. If you plan to steal the money, find a place where you can get it fast without being spotted by your parents.
* If you have a credit card, definitely take that... Be prepared for your parents to possibly cancel it, however, when they find out that you've run away. Don't use it as your only source of money. Also, using a credit/debit card can give away your hiding place. The bank can track down your card, and see what stores and shops you've been to.
* Live near large grocery stores or candy stores. These places will usually have food samples open to the public which you can snack on, though make sure you take a cart with you and try to look like you have a purpose; don't hang around. Also, you can use the public bathrooms to wash yourself ….
* It's not glamorous, but you can always go dumpster-diving at the back of large grocery stores. You'll be seriously surprised about what people throw away. The more you dumpster-dive, the more your system will get used to food that's past its prime. In the beginning, it might be quite uncomfortable, but it should get better. (WikiHow)
I know all of that sounds crazy, but the point is that running away from your problems, the anxiety that is so tempting to alleviate, really only causes more problems. Running away spiritually is not the answer, because if you trust in God and you are disobedient to doing what you know he does not want you to do, the anxiety will continue… There is no rest in running away. Flee like a bird to the mountain” is the temptation… I trust the Lord but the anxiety of the world makes me want to withdraw.
This Psalm is about the emotion of anxiety, uneasiness, uncertainty. I love the little phrase in Ps. 11:2: “[Enemies] shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.” Trying to identify the nature of the problems you face is impossible because the arrows are coming from the shadows. Panic often produces more panic because of the shadows….you can never get to the bottom of the source of the criticisms, causing more anxiety…
“I trust in the Lord…but the foundations are being destroyed” it says in Ps. 11:3. Spiritual anxiety: I believe in God but the order of the universe under God is collapsing. We are seeing the erosion of Christian values. The battle to remove “under God” from the pledge of allegiance is a real and symbolic erosion of our foundational Christian values. Slowly we see laws being passed that undermine everything we believe. “Flee to the mountains…” is the temptation. “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Ps. 11:3) ~ I am helpless.
The key to understanding this Psalm…/an important principle defining what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ: You don’t need safety to solve your problems. You need stability! 2 choices in Psalm 11 ~ flee like a bird, or take refuge in God!
Stability is only found in the Lord. Run away from your problems and your anxiety only increases, you create more problems, you’ll have to go dumpster diving! Ps. 11:3, “When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?” This verse brings you to the point of decision ~ flee to the mountains or find refuge in God. Let’s be clear: when you choose to run from your problems the truth is that, you are running from God! I trust God, but do I fully trust him when my world is crumbling? I believe in Jesus Christ but will he really rescue me when my world is overwhelming?
Go to God! You need a sure foundation. It is only in the Lord you find stability!
READ Ps. 11:4a. David is not speaking of the temple in Jerusalem, he is affirming the heavenly dwelling of the Lord. The prophet Habakkuk cried out as he discovered the stability that is found in God, “The Lord is in his Holy Temple, let all the earth be silent before him” (Hab. 2:20). This is the turning point ~ to be overwhelmed by God. Running is not the answer. The presence of God is the answer. READ 11:4b. You cannot run from God, you cannot run from your anxiety, you cannot run from yourself. God is watching. He knows. He understands. The problems of your life may be overwhelming, but you will not find safety by running away, you will discover strength through the Lord.
You don’t need to worry about your enemies! ~ let God worry. I love John Maxwell’s prayer when feeling overwhelmed, “God, You’ve got a problem.” God is much smarter than you. He is watching. He knows what is going on. The same injustice you see is also seen by God. Nobody is getting away with anything. You think your enemy is winning, but he is not, because God is watching.
READ Ps. 11:5-6. This means God is the judge and I am not. You know why we are tempted to run away from our problems? because we want to see justice now! because I am angry God isn’t doing what I think he is supposed to be doing! At one point James and John, the disciples of Jesus, did not like the way Jesus was treated by a certain village, so they said to Jesus, “Lord do you want us to call fire down from heaven to destroy them?” (Luke 9:54). Jesus scolded them. Let us take justice into our own hands is what we really want. Let us set things right. Let us write the rules. That is really what running away is always about, because God is not acting like we think he is supposed to!
Run away, or let God be God. Those are your choices. Let God be God over baby Jaxon. Let God be God over your health. Let God be God over that relationship. That life changing disappointment, that loss of a job, that oversight, that lack of recognition you thought you needed. Let God be God.
It’s not safety that you need. It is God. It is God. It is God! God is the foundation. He is watching. He knows who is righteous. He knows who is against him. It is his timing, his way. When you have anxiety problems, when you begin to panic, it is not safety you need, it is stability. And stability is only found in the Lord Jesus Christ!
One more verse sums it up: READ Ps. 11:7. This affirms the Lord’s character, what he values, and what you can expect. This is why you find stability in the Lord:
What is God’s character? ~ “For the Lord is righteous.” That simply means he is always right! Sometimes teachers/parents are annoying when they declare they are the teacher so they are right. And sometimes as a parent I am wrong. I may have the title Pastor, but that does not mean I am always right. But God is God and God is right. God is watching. God is knows what is going on in the hearts and minds of all people. He sees the same injustice you see. And he is right. That is his character!
What does God value? “he loves justice.” We may not always get God, we often want to write the story different from God, we usually want God to be much faster in setting wrongs right, but have no doubt that God is God and he loves justice. The end of the story is always a good story. We may shed many tears over the state of the world we are living in, but we can be absolutely assured that God loves things being set right. He loves to affirm the weak and the hurting.
What can we expect? “upright men will see his face.” “The Lord is in his Holy Temple…upright men will see His Face.”
I love the poem, High Flight, by John Gillespie McGee, Jr. It is the final line that is so amazing. The words of the body of the poem can be puzzling, but as you listen they describe a High Flight! On Sept. 3, 1941, Magee flew a 30,000 foot test flight in a newer model of a Spitfire. As he orbited and climbed upward, he was struck with the inspiration of a poem — "To touch the face of God." Once back on the ground, he wrote a letter to his parents. In it he commented, "I am enclosing a verse I wrote the other day. It started at 30,000 feet, and was finished soon after I landed." On the back of the letter, he jotted down his poem, 'High Flight.'
Just three months later, on Dec. 11, 1941 (a few days after the US entered the war), Pilot Officer John Gillespie Magee, Jr., was killed. The Spitfire he was flying collided with another plane on a training mission. He was 19 years old.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, — and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of — wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air. . . .
Up, up the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, or ever eagle flew --
And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
The most amazing grace of all! God is seated on His heavenly throne, God in his glory, men and women with all our problems, anxiety, crushed from all sides, and the promise is that you can see his face, know him, dwell with him. Safety is not what you need, that is why running away is not the solution, stability is what you need. To see the face of God!