Vol. 6, No. 6, Nov. – Dec. 1977


[William MacDonald]

PSALM 4 will always hold a special place in my heart because of the way it spoke to me at a time of personal fear and anxiety. During the Second World War, I was sent on a special assignment with orders requiring air travel. Early during the evening of the flight, I visited the air terminal to check on the travel arrangements.

The plane assigned to the trip was one of the oldest in the squadron; it was laughingly referred to as an orange crate held together by bailing wire! When I saw the pilot’s name I was further disheartened — he was one of the most inexperienced we had! That left only one other item — the weather. So I went to the Base Weather Office and asked about the weather along the route. “Do you really want to know?” they asked. “Yes, I think so,” I said with some hesitation. “Well, it’s corruption all the way!” To me that was a new use of the word ‘corruption’, and I wasn’t sure I liked it!

They suggested I go back to my room, promising to send a car for me at flight time. The thought passed through my mind, “You might just as well send a hearse.” That’s the way I felt!

Back in my room I feared that the end of all things was at hand. For some time I wallowed in self-pity. Then I thought to myself, “This is ridiculous; why should you, a believer, succumb to fear and depression?” Then the following dialogue went on inside me:

“What have Christians always done when they’ve been in tight places?”

“Turned to the Word of God, I guess. But where would I turn?”

“Where have Christians usually turned in the Word when the going was rough?”

 “To the Book of Psalms, I guess. But where would I turn in the Book of Psalms?”

“Well, if you don’t know, why don’t you begin at the beginning?”

 So I did. I began with Psalm 1. But I didn’t find any comfort there. I went on to Psalm 2. Nothing there helped my gloom either. I read Psalm 3. Again no verse seemed especially relevant. As I began Psalm 4, I despaired of finding anything either. But then I came to verse 8. It stood out like a neon sign:

In peace I will both lie down and sleep;

for Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety.

My whole being relaxed instantly. I realised in a flash that
it was not the plane,
it was not the pilot,
it was not the weather,
but it was the Lord! “Thou alone, O Lord, dost make me to dwell in safety!”

When flight time came I had to be aroused from a deep slumber (and that was not like me!). On board the plane I put my head back and slept through a furious storm — lightning and thunder and gale winds — (and that was not like me either!). A gnarled, weatherbeaten Chief Petty Officer sitting next to me was disgusted that I should have slept through such turbulence. He said it was the worst storm he had ever experienced. My peace was not my own doing, of course, It was the Lord: And the secret tranquilliser He gave me was Psalm 4:8.

(From ‘Enjoying The Psalms’ by William MacDonald.
Walterick Publishers, Kansas City, U.S.A.
) [119/120]



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