The cords of death encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me. The cords of Sheol surrounded me; the snares of death confronted me. (Psalm 18:4-5)
I don’t pretend to know the kind of peril David was facing here. I have not been in any life-threatening conflicts. I have not been the ruler of a kingdom that seemed to be as often in war as not. My brush with death would include a motorcycle accident some 40 years ago where I ended up in the Emergency Room at a hospital in Camden, New Jersey. And a heart attack last year.
Two major things I learned from those incidents. From the first, don’t waste time. From the second, “Father, my life is in Your hands, and I will rejoice in whatever You choose to do.”
Back to David. These cords and snares could have been wrapped around him personally, or they could have been entwined around friends and fellow servants of the Most High. And to that I can definitely relate.
I have four friends that have been entangled and entwined by cancer; three of them lost that battle. One was an audio engineer, the next a small business owner, and the third, a mechanical engineer. One was a long and drawn out battle, the other two were brief.
My last friend was a brilliant molecular biologist, with some ground-breaking research; and currently is a consultant to rather large corporations, freeing them from entanglements that could have destroyed their businesses. He continues to suffer much, with this entangling affliction, but he has learned to deal with this “new normal”. How long this battle endures, only God knows.
The Apostle Paul understood this battle: We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed. Through suffering, our bodies continue to share in the death of Jesus so that the life of Jesus may also be seen in our bodies. That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! (2 Corinthians 4:7-10, 16-17)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
The one thing my four friends have in common is Jesus. Now they may not have had the understanding of Paul, but three have achieved the same goal and the fourth will as well.
So where does that leave us who are witnessing these entanglements up close and personal? Back to King David: In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears. (Psalm 18:6)
In the midst of our tears, it’s up to us to cry out unto the LORD, that He may rescue. That He may heal. In an email I sent out to my work family, I told them I have been asking the LORD to heal him everyday, for five years; and will continue to plead that the LORD would heal him, even up to his dying breath. And I have written this to put my friend’s struggle into context—God’s eternal context. And to ask you to pray for healing as well. And pray for his son and daughter.
So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. (Galatians 6:9)
The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (James 4:15)