This Week's Article
By Colly Caldwell
“Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I am in trouble; My eye wastes away with grief, yes, my soul and my body! For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength fails because of my iniquity, and my bones waste away” (Psalm 31:9-10).
The Bible record of the life of David is focused on two distinct periods of time. His life after being anointed by Samuel but before actually sitting on the throne provides a background for many of the Psalms in which he pours out his heart and provides every man and woman an illustration of the common problems we all face. His later life as king provides an example from which Israel looked for its Messiah.
Psalm 31 speaks of David’s inner grieving. He says, “Mine eye is consumed with grief, yea, my soul and my belly” (the literal word, KJV). We do not see the human emotions in any other to the same degree until we are led to consider the deep emotions of Jesus as he approached the cross.
Lynda has an app on her phone that gives her a “word for the day.” Last Wednesday she looked and the word for the day was “Collywobbles .” Ever hear that word? Well, my wife became hysterical. She laughed until she was crying. She texted all our children and you can imagine the exchanges the rest of the day. It was raining when we got to church that night but she had to tell Derrick about her new word before they actually got in the door.
How ironic that such a word would appear on her phone. I had to find out what it meant and when I did, I almost wished I hadn’t. No one knows its origin for certain. One dictionary published in 1823, speculated that the word originated in the coal mines of England. Blackbirds were known as colly birds. The song “Twelve Days of Christmas” has a line saying that “my true love sent to me four calling birds.” Actually, the original line is “four colly birds.” In the coal mines the prevalent indisposition (illness) was spread by black birds and coal dust. They called it the wobbles. Thus “collywobbles.” It’s typical symptoms were stomach pain, colic, cramps, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.”
Eventually, the word came to be figuratively applied to the terrible physical feelings of fear, apprehension, guilt or nervousness we have in our stomachs when we are severely troubled. You know that uncomfortable feeling don’t you? It comes with worry, trouble, and anxiety. It may come from grieving or loneliness. It can arise unexpectedly and suddenly. A knot seems to twist your intestines and tighten your stomach so that you cannot get comfortable in any position. It hurts. Everyone has experienced it at some time. You really don’t want to have the collywobbles.
Strangely enough our lesson last Wednesday evening dealt with anxiety. Rick Tolbert did a splendid job talking us through the Scriptures that speak to the child of God about anxiety. Like other human emotions, sin can invade our lives if we give in to the dark side. If we do, our inner pain continues and even grows because of the guilt we who know better inevitably feel. Our conscience takes hold of us. David’s son, Solomon, wisely noted, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression” (Proverbs 12:25).
David spoke of the distress he felt over his sin. It affected his bones and his belly. He said: “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me. My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. I acknowledged my sin to you and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,’ and you forgave the iniquity of my sin” (Psalm 32:3-5). As always, the solution is found in our faith. The Psalmist said, “In the multitude of my anxieties within me, your comforts delight my soul” (Psalm 94:19). Jesus, taught in the sermon on the mount, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry...” (Matt. 6:33-34). Jesus, Himself, was in agony, sorely grieved in Gethsemane (Luke 22:44). Do you imagine that He had no knot in His stomach facing the cross. Jesus does not want us to harbor the collywobbles within us. Paul said, “Be anxious for nothing but in everything by prayer and supplication let your gentleness be known to God and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7).