Wednesday, April 13, 2011


The story of David is pretty well-known: unlikely teenage hero goes out onto the battlefield and defeats fiercest warrior in all of Palestine with a mere rock. That story alone has spurned countless sermons, analogies, and stories of inspiration. Beyond this part of David's life, though, is one wrought with adversity and hardship. David is one of the most beloved figures of the Scriptures, but he was also one of the most flawed and, at times, seemingly cursed.

When David defeats the giant he is made a part of King Saul's courts and strikes up a brotherly friendship with the king's son, Jonathan. Their love is one that knows the greatest of depths and has them inseparable, brothers not by blood, but by soul ties. As the story goes, the king begins to grow threatened by David and ends up casting his spear at him, sending him running for his life and embarking on a perilous journey that sees him hiding from the king and hiding out or living in caves and other dark, gritty places.

In the church today, those who cannot seem to stay put or settle into a church home are known as "church hoppers," and looked at with suspicion, judgment, or even a little contempt. When someone displaces themselves from a community, suspicions arise, talk ensues, and theories are formulated. It is important to remember, however, that someone who has left our community has probably seen or felt the sharp end of a spear. Whether that spear was thrown from the hand of a leader, a pastor, or a congregation member, there was some harm or threat of harm that manifested and sent someone running for the hills.

The way of the Christian walk oftentimes ironically leaves little room for grace. The matured, long-time Christian should possess the gifts and fruit of the spirit that would seemingly make them impervious to mistreatment or seemingly petty squabbles. I think back to David, however, and I see a young man who probably felt more comfortable, secure, and at home in the king's palace than any other non-relative of the king. And yet, when that spear was thrown, David did not seek to make amends with the king, he did not attempt to speak to him and resolve conflict. Instead, he was overcome with fear and fled. 

I am sure this was a trying time in David's life as he found himself dirty, dark, and possibly despondent as he laid his head upon a rock to sleep. Like David, many others out there are feeling displaced and could use the hand of a king to reach out and welcome them back home or assure them they have a home, a place where their life is valuable and no longer at stake. I believe it is easy to cast people aside or write them off as a lost cause, but how many of our friends are sleeping in dark, cold caves needing just one touch to bring them back home?