Sunday, June 17, 2012

running on empty

one unhappy little guy

(this summer I am exploring the life of Israel's King David.  I will post from time to time some of my reflections on how David's story intersects with yours and mine...he was, after all, very much like you and I.  That's what makes his story so fascinating.)

Yesterday morning I ran some errands with my daughter Lauren and her 4 month old son Zayden.  Around 11:30 Zayden started getting fussy, he was hungry, but alas, there was no formula in the diaper bag and we were still 30 minutes from home!

Lauren tried to give him water, but he was not interested at all!  Before we knew it he went from fussing to crying to screaming!!!  Lauren did her best to console him.  She spoke sweetly to him, sang his favorite lullaby, she really tried everything she could to distract him, but nothing worked.

Since I was driving I stepped on the gas.  And then, just as Zayden hit a rousing crescendo the gas light came on!  Now we were faced with a wailing baby AND an almost empty tank of gas...

Long story short, we got home and Lauren fixed a bottle which she instantly popped it into his mouth - and yet Zayden continued to cry.  In fact it took a while before he realized that his greatest wish was right there in front of him.

Zayden had become so self absorbed by his hunger that he couldn't hear his mommy telling him that it everything would be ok.  Then, when given what he wanted, he still refused to believe that his wishes had been met.  Sound familiar?

We are fragile creatures, you and I.  We have a tendency to get our minds fixed on what we want, or what we are afraid of, or what we don't want to deal with and before we know it these normal (and often every day) things become bigger and badder and scarier than they probably are.  THEN, in the midst of our wailing and gnashing of teeth we neglect to hear the voice of the one who loves us more than we will ever know.  I am constantly amazed at God's patience with us.  And yet, His love, mercy and grace go on and on forever and ever.  Thanks be to God!

Saul, the king of the Israelites, had a big problem...the Philistine Army was big and bad and eager to wipe the tiny nation of Israel off the face of the earth.  For 40 days and nights they were in a stalemate - and the biggest baddest of them all was a giant of a man by the name of Goliath - each morning Goliath would strike fear in the hearts of the Israelite army, taunting them with his bravado.  Along comes David, Jesse's youngest son, who was sent to the battlefield to drop off some supplies for his three eldest brothers.  When he heard Goliath's taunts it ticked him off...and he wasn't afraid to say so!

Before anyone knew what was happening David convinced King Saul that he was more than a shepherd boy, he was in fact a formidable hunter of lions and bears and this Philistine had nothing on them!  So the king dressed him up in battle armor and prepared to send him up to the front lines.  Only one problem, the heavy armor didn't feel right.  So instead he opted for his slingshot, 5 smooth stones, and his faith in God, the Almighty one.

As Goliath jeered, David proclaimed his faith in the one living God.  As Goliath scoffed at this runt of a man, David proclaimed God's power and benevolence and with the swing of his slingshot Goliath came crashing down!  (see 1 Samuel 17 for more of the story - the Message translation is especially good)

Notice how Saul and his men only saw the formidable fighting power of the Philistine Army.  For 40 days and 40 nights the Philistines waged a psychological war on them, led by Goliath.  David, on the other hand, didn't see anyone but God.  He doesn't even mention anyone but God.

I think David was able to have this unique perspective about God because he lived a simple life, one that was intimately connected to God.  Because he spent much of his time out in nature he knew of God's power and grace because he saw it in the ordinary things...he had to be in awe of the wonder and majesty of God!

much better!
We all know what or who our Goliath's are.  What is preventing us from placing our trust in the God of David?  What is keeping us from hearing the voice of the one living God?   Its not that we are making mountains out of molehills as much as we have a tendency to lose sight of the one who really, really loves us.  Are our spiritual tanks full or are we running on empty, without any hope?

These are all some things I am thinking about as we continue our summer long journey with David, a man after God's own heart.  May we too turn our hearts and minds toward God even (especially) in the midst of troubling, challenging times.

in Christ, together,

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