Nelson column Stop the world, I want to get off

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It would seem to be an understatement to claim that life today is spinning out of control.
We are faced with negative economic news on a daily basis, weather conditions no longer seem stable but are unpredictable and the nation’s military is stretched so thin that commitments keep outdistancing our resources in personnel and material support.
When will it ever stop? Can’t our world just stop spinning for a while so we can all catch our breath?
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our upcoming elections would be the answer to all of these problems? Candidates have proposals, of course, but the reality is that no one has all the correct answers. Our only certainty is that problems will persist, and new ones will take the place of old ones.
Solutions will require a vast amount of energy and work to bring them under control.
I once heard a wise elderly gentleman declare with all seriousness that “life must be devoted to solving problems.” He was right, for the older I get, the reality of that statement gains credence.
It is part of our human nature to want to be able to manage situations.
We don’t like the ambivalence of not knowing how to resolve problems.
The danger about all of this is that we become candidates for simple solutions or complete abdication.
It is the writer of Psalms who declares, “Oh that I had the wings of a dove, I would fly away and be at rest.”(Psalm 55:6) Perhaps that is the desire of each one of us.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to simply fly away and leave all of our concerns behind? We would not have to be troubled by problems, burdens and cares.
But the psalmist goes on to say that we are to “cast our burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you.” (Psalm 55:22) That assurance is what we need to enable us to keep on keeping on in the midst of our menacing circumstances.
The world that is swirling around us with constant demands and changes is not in control of us. Even though we can’t control it, we can be free of its demands because we can fly away like the dove and be at rest.
Contemporary hymn writer, Michael Joncas, put it this way: “And he will raise you up on eagle wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hand.”
What a blessing we can claim. The swirling world does not have to stop for us to find peace. It cannot hold us captive.
We can get off at any time by flying away to the shelter of God’s mighty hand.