04 August 2005

Ultimate triumph

Psalm 18 can sound triumphalist and melodramatic. The use of metaphors from nature (images of thunderstorms and volcano eruptions comes to mind) to dramatize God's intervention seems like an indulgence in hyperbole.

But when seen in the light of David's desperation and depression in other passages, one can't help but share in his moment of ecstatic joy. If the preceding psalms (15-17) were immediate predecessors of this one, in real, historical time, then it is a moment of triumph to truly savor. David's agonizing patience has paid off. His tongue-biting trust and gritty refusal to succumb has been rewarded.

How many long, dark nights have I been through? How often have I been betrayed by the very people I serve? Depression and desperation seem to be the norm, trouble-free days the exception. But I have good reason, David reminds me, to smile at the storm. Joy need not be postponed to a time that may never come - it can be a present reality because 'The Lord lives!.. He is the God who saves me' and 'turns my darkness into light.'

David testifies: 'He is a shield for all who take refuge in him.'

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