GIVE IT UP –
After Absalom killed his brother Amnon for raping his sister Tamar, Absalom fled to avoid possible repercussions from his father King David. After years of communicating that he wanted to reconcile, Absalom finally returned to Jerusalem. But he and his father didn’t speak to each other for two years. Finally David felt Absalom had suffered enough and gave him his freedom to come and go; little did David know that during this time his best friend Ahithophel had joined Absalom in plotted a rebellion against him. The whole thing would blow up in David’s face and put him through one of the most trying times of his life.
“O One True God, You’ve got to listen to me; I need to know that You hear me so I can get an answer from You. I’m sick and tired of the way those who call for my defeat are cheering each other on. It’s causing me more stress than I can handle, especially when I see how enthused they are about making me miserable. My heart is racing out of control and the thought of dying just numbs my mind. I’m shaking all over because I’m terrified of what will happen. If I could fly off like a bird to a hideaway somewhere, I’d go right now. At least I could have some peace of mind, having gotten out of this horrible situation. If it was someone I didn’t know who hated me so much, I could handle that; or if it was someone I just couldn’t stand, I’d stay out of their way. But it’s my best friend, my confidant, my trusted supporter; the one I confided in and worshiped with. So I’ve decided to put it all in Your hands O LORD Eternal, I know You can help me keep going. Because You will never let those who live for You lose hope.” Psalm 55:1-8, 12-14, 22
Reflection: Rev. Charles A. Tindley, the son of slaves owned by southern plantation landlords, taught himself to read and write by age seventeen. He worked as a janitor at the Calvary Methodist Episcopal Church in Philadelphia while attending night school. It wasn’t long before he became pastor of that same church. By the time he died in 1933, over 12,500 members attended services there each week. Because of his struggles, he was inspired to write a song entitled, “I’ll Overcome Someday.” The civil rights movement in the U.S. chose that song early on as its anthem and it became known as, “We Shall Overcome.” During his pastorate, one of his members who was a chronic worrier stopped by one day to see him, and after listening to what the parishioner told him, Rev. Tindley told the man, “If I were you, I’d put all my troubles in a sack, take ‘em to the Lord and leave ‘em there.” Perhaps it was this Psalm of David that influenced Pastor Tindley to say that, and later on inspired him to write another song that became one of the church’s most famous hymns: “Leave it there, leave it there, take your burden to the Lord and leave it there.” Don’t be like some believers and fall in love with your burdens; this makes them hard to give up; makes you want to hold on to them no matter what because they bring you pity and sympathy. Rather, treat them like trinkets, not like treasures. Sometimes God takes our troubles and strife and transforms them into real jewels for our crown of righteousness. But He can only do that if we take them to Him, and leave them in His care.