Give ear to my prayer, O God,
and hide not yourself from my plea for mercy!
Attend to me, and answer me;
I am restless in my complaint and I moan,
because of the noise of the enemy,
because of the oppression of the wicked.
For they drop trouble upon me,
and in anger they bear a grudge against me.
My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen upon me.
Fear and trembling come upon me,
and horror overwhelms me.
And I say, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest;
yes, I would wander far away;
I would lodge in the wilderness;
I would hurry to find a shelter
from the raging wind and tempest.” Psalm 55:1-8 ESV
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice;
let them ever sing for joy,
and spread your protection over them,
that those who love your name may exult in you.
For you bless the righteous, O Lord;
you cover him with favor as with a shield. Psalm 5:11-12 ESV
Birds are very small animals, and they can be blown by a strong wind and beaten down by heavy rain or snow. When weather becomes too strong for birds, they hide. Different birds hide in different places and ways. Bluebirds roost together, maybe in a birdhouse, to stay warm and protected, and bobwhites huddle together for warmth and keep their heads facing out to watch for predators. Chickadees, titmice, and woodpeckers find old nesting places in a dead tree. Nuthatches hide behind loose pieces of tree bark, rosy finches hide in rocks, and ruffled grouse hide in snowbanks.
Psalm 55 talks about wanting to fly away like a bird to a safe place to escape from enemies and other troubles. It talks about being shaking and terrified and feeling like death is near. The troubles that are all around feel like a storm with a raging wind. These troubles can make people feel as weak and helpless as a little bird, with nothing to do but try to get away from all their problems and hide from them. Sometimes troubles make us feel even more helpless than a small bird. Birds have wings to fly away and find a place to hide from a storm, but the writer of this psalm can only wish for wings.
When we feel like this, we can be sure that there is one safe place to hide. God is always willing to give us shelter and help from the storms of life. He loves us and cares for us, and we can always go to him in prayer. The worst enemies we ever had were death and the forces of evil, and we were helpless against these enemies. But God came to us in Jesus to defeat these enemies for us on the cross. We can come to Jesus for shelter and protection from death and the devil, knowing that he forgives our sins and will keep us safe with him now and always.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for letting us come to you for shelter and protection, and for sending Jesus to bring us to you and keep us safe with you always. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.