O That I Had the Wings of a Dove!
by James Smith, 1860
"Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!" Psalm 55:6
The trials of a believer are often severe. Many a storm has he to endure, many a river to ford, and many a fire to pass through — in his way home to the promised land. Little did the Christian think, when he first stepped into the liberty of the gospel, that there were such rough roads, dark nights, and terrible storms before him — but, more or less, every traveler to Mount Zion, must experience them. It is generally found to be a rough road, which leads to the celestial city. Many a Christian has found his courage fail him, and his heart misgive him, on his way home.
The darkness is sometimes so dense,
the cross is at times so heavy,
the disappointment at some seasons is so great —
that the stoutest heart quails, and unites with the timid spirit, in exclaiming, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!"
These trials are necessary, to . . .
try our sincerity,
exercise our graces, and
render the promises sweet and precious.
When all goes smooth, and everything is pleasant — we attach but little importance to the promises, have little power in prayer, and are too apt to over-value ourselves. But trying times . . .
endear the throne of grace,
strip us of pride and self-importance,
and strengthen our trust in Jesus.
Never is Christ so precious — as in times of peculiar trial. Never is the Bible so valued — as in the day of trouble and distress. The wilderness with its barren burning sands, its storms and tempests, its dangers and its difficulties — endears the promised land; and makes the pilgrim occasionally to cry out, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!"
Rest! O how sweet is the thought of rest — to the weary, way-worn, exhausted traveler! Rest! O how sweet is the thought of rest — to the afflicted, tried, and tempted Christian! He most generally thinks of Heaven as a place of rest:
rest from suffering,
rest from sorrow,
rest from toil, and
rest from conflict.
Rest with Jesus.
Rest in the home of God.
Rest, perfect and perpetual.
Peaceful and glorious rest.
We have the foretastes of it occasionally now, which makes us at times long for its fullness and perfection. Like the grapes of Eshcol, which when tasted, stimulates us to hasten across the wilderness, that we may take possession of the promised land; so the inward calm, the secret repose, the rest at times enjoyed in the soul — urges us on, and makes us cry out, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!"
But we may be too anxious to be gone. We may be in too great a hurry to depart. We had therefore better pray for . . .
patience to endure,
and strength to bear,
and courage to face our trials —
than wish for wings to fly from them.
As an old writer says, "Better pray for the strength of an ox — to bear your troubles; than for the wings of a dove — to fly away from them." Even cowardice, or self-love, may prompt us to use the exclamation. Let us, therefore, while we may have a desire to depart and be with Christ as far better for us; remember, that it may be more for the glory of God, for the benefit of others, and even for our own ultimate good — that we remain here. And if so, it is better calmly and patiently to say, "all the days of my appointed time I will wait — until my change comes," than from a desire for self-indulgence to cry out, "Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest!"