Archive for March 6th, 2009

March 6, 2009

Tight Places

CB042434I am claustrophobic.  Well, not clinically, but I really, REALLY do not like tight places!  I cannot remember I time I didn’t feel this way. Crowded elevators, no thanks – I’ll take the stairs!  

Recently while reading a familiar Psalm, I noticed something in the footnotes that I had underlined years ago. In Psalm 4, the NIV version reads “Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.” Who doesn’t want relief, but the literal meaning of this phrase really spoke to my heart and into my life. This phrase give me relief from my distress literally means make room for me in tight places.  Tight Places…

 Guess what? Now here is a revelation: Sometimes I get very self-centered and think that no one could possibly understand my life.  No one else on God’s green earth (or even the current greyish-white) could possibly be going through what I am going through!  Yet, hidden here in the original Hebrew is a gem of truth: David too was claustrophobic!

Am I speaking of an actual fear of Tight Places? No (but I’m sure this prayer would apply there too). Sometimes life gets very tight.  Sometime it feels as if there little room to move.  Sometimes it feels as if you can barely breath.  

The past year has been a tight place for me – financially, physically, spiritually, emotionally.  So, meditating and praying this Davidic psalm gives me great comfort.  It puts my heart at peace to know that David too experienced the tight places. We also know from reading other books in the Bible that the tight places were not the end of David. He survived those tight places.  Eventually, he also moved on to spacious places and greener pastures.

But how did David find relief in tight places?  I think the answer too is hidden in this verse and in his heart’s cry – make room. The King James version puts it this way: …thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress. I’ve come to understand God doesn’t always remove us from the tight places; although He surely can. Sometimes in His great mercy and infinite wisdom, God simply makes room for us in those places and enlarges our ability to cope.

Answer me when I call to you, O my righteous God.  Make room for me in tight places; be merciful to me and hear my prayer.  Psalm 4:1 (my emphasis)