A desperately lonely picture – pelican in the desert

By Dave Henning / November 24, 2021

“[David] paints a desperately lonely picture.  Pelicans need the water, not the wilderness.  The wilderness is no place for them.  David’s lonely pelican is desolate, dejected, defeated, despairing, distressed . . .” – Ruth Graham

“I am like a pelican of the wilderness.  I am like an owl out of the desert . .  . .  like a sparrow alone on a housetop.”- Psalm 102:6 (NKJV)

Ruth Graham concludes Chapter 1 of Transforming Loneliness as she highlights a peculiar image King David used in Psalm 102:6.  What on earth, Ruth asks, would a pelican be doing in the wilderness?

In contrast, Ruth states that anyone who know her knows this fact.  Ruth loves the beach.  Because the beach represented a special place for Jesus.  Above all, Ruth loves to observe the birds.  Around five o’ clock in the afternoon, the pelicans arrive – always flying in formation.  Social and gregarious, pelicans feed mostly on fish.  In addition, they present a beautiful sight as they glide over the water.  Their impressive wingspan ranges from six to seven feet.  Also, Ms. Graham never ceases to be amazed at God’s masterful design of the pelican’s throat pouch.  It catches prey as well as drains water.

Yet, King David chose this bird as a metaphor in this psalm.  However, David didn’t place the bird in its natural habitat, from which it could draw its nourishment from the sea.  Instead, David paints a lonely picture.

In conclusion, Ruth notes that her loneliness drove her to Jesus and His Word.  There she found comfort and solace.  Not just to endure her loneliness, but to learn how to work with, not against God when loneliness strikes.

Therefore, Ruth exhorts:

”  . . . the core needs that drive our loneliness . . . can be met as God transforms our loneliness into a positive experience that accomplishes His purposes and draws us into a closer, more intimate, and more meaningful relationship with Him and others.”

Today’s question: What most helps you overcome the desperately lonely picture David paints?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The solution for loneliness = love”

About the author

Dave Henning

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