From Elise Davis
If I had written Psalm 142, v 7 would read “Set me free from my prison, because I don’t think I can handle it.” Or, “Set me free from my prison, because I would rather be somewhere else.” So it’s probably a good thing David wrote it instead of me, because his version is a whole lot better.
Set me free from my prison,
that I may praise your name.
What he wants God to do is the same, but why – that’s different. That why is crucial.
There’s this phrase of Luther’s that I love and hate: He says, when he first sinned, homo incurvatus in se, ‘man curved in on himself.’ (Side note: the original Latin is one of those phrases, in my opinion, where the sound of it reflects the idea it expresses, and I love it.) When he sinned, man stooped and curled until all he could see was himself, until he was his own universe. There’s some deep truth there: that when we sin, day after day, it’s because we can’t see beyond our own desires to the vision God has for the world.
In verse 7, David managed to come un-curved. He sat in his own suffering and said ‘Father, your will and not mine.’ He wanted freedom from his pain, not to get rid of the pain, but so that God’s name would receive the praise it was due.
Reading those words is good for me, because they remind me just how ‘curved in on myself’ I really am – and they give me a vocabulary to stand straighter & taller. I don’t know how David managed to see that far, but I’m glad we still have his words to help teach us how to do the same.
I drink my coffee black, get emotional about theology, and try to end as many sentences as possible with question marks.