Picnic in a Warzone
For thousands of years, Psalm 23 has been a source of solace to God’s people in times of crisis. I’ve been thinking lately about one verse in this psalm and how amazing it is. After describing how the Lord renews and restores us, and how he walks beside us through dark valleys, King David writes in verse 5, “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.”
I recently heard an interview in which Rev. Mahlatse Mashua (of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries) pointed out what an astonishing thought this is. Normally, if we are surrounded by enemies, what we want is for God to get us out of that situation immediately. But King David learned that, surprisingly, rather than quickly airlifting us out of danger, the Lord, instead, often comes to where we are, sits down beside us, and spreads out a picnic lunch. While our enemies look on in amazement, we break bread with our Lord and enjoy fellowship with him.
What I learn from this verse is that I shouldn’t always expect God to bring difficult situations in my life to a speedy resolution. What I should expect, however, is for times of crisis to deepen my relationship with God. The Apostle Paul called this “the fellowship of sharing in [Christ’s] sufferings” (Phil. 3:10). Suffering opens the door to fellowship with the Lord that is difficult to experience in times of peace. Dining with the Lord is wonderful, and his picnics are usually held in warzones.
So, as we wait for our current crisis to end (and the waiting will seem long) let's not miss the invitations God gives us to experience ever deeper communion with him.