For it is not an enemy who taunts me—then I could bear it; it is not an adversary who deals insolently with me—then I could hide from him. But it is you, a man, my equal, my companion, my familiar friend. ~David, Psalm 55:12-13
Sometimes in life the unthinkable happens. A relationship which had been built upon deep trust and mutual love is shattered. It is not a stab in the back but a friendly smile approaching from the front and then shoving the knife deep within.
This is what David experienced as he ran from Saul. While some he considered friends remained faithful, others turned against him and sought his life on Saul’s command. David didn’t tell us which friend betrayed him or the exact circumstances, of this we are left merely to speculate; but in the words we can feel David’s pain.
The deepest wounds of life tend to be the unexpected ones that come from people we hold dear. If an enemy harms us it is still painful, but we might anticipate and expect it. He or she is, after all, an enemy. But when a loved one turns on us, it is a deep betrayal.
So where do we turn?
David knew he had to go to the One who is always Faithful and True. Feeling pain and even desiring vengeance, David turned to God. In his prayer he showed trust and hope in the midst of complaint. He knew that God would hear, save, and sustain, as well as repay the evil done (55:15-19).
So it is, even when we experience the deepest wounds, we are to trust in God. Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you, David wrote (55:22). Here the One who sustains us is also the One who experienced a betrayal himself. Jesus went to the cross to give us life, but his path to the cross involved the kiss of a friend who sold him out for thirty pieces of silver. Our God is the God who sustains and sympathizes.
With this, we are to check our own hearts, motives, and attitudes. We should seek to walk in godliness and not be the cause of such wounds in other people. After all, David warned, as much as God will sustain the hurting, he will also bring justice against a person who becomes an enemy and does the hurting (55:19-23).
So let us not be people who wound others. And if we experience the deepest wounds from others, let’s remember the source of comfort, healing, and strength.
This post is part of our ongoing journey through the Bible as a church.