I love it when Greg reads to me before we go to sleep. We started the tradition during our first year of marriage--we get all tucked into bed, turn out all the lights except for the bedside lamp, and Greg reads until one of us can't keep our eyelids open anymore. A great way to end the day!
Lately we've been reading from an old favorite: A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards. It's the captivating study of the lives of three Old Testament kings--Saul, David and Absalom (David's son). The book focuses on how David responds to Saul's attempted murder (he threw a lot of spears at David) and Absalom's treachery (he tried to take over his dad's kingdom).
Right now, we're reading about how David reacted to the mad king's spear-chucking. David ducked every time! He never threw spears back at Saul--or took revenge even when it seemed the Lord had delivered the king into his hands. David honored the jealous, insecure leader as the Lord's anointed, entrusting his own life to God.
The concept that's really impacted me this time around, however, is this: "King Saul sought to destroy David, but his only success was that he became the handmaiden of God to put to death the Saul that roamed in the caverns of David's soul."
(Saul and David were both the Lord's anointed ones. The main difference between the two kings was this: Saul forgot that he was just a steward of the kingdom of God and began to build his own kingdom. He went mad in an attempt to preserve what was never truly his. David, on the other hand, held the keys to the kingdom lightly, knowing that authority was God's to give and take at any time . . .)
So it isn't just about ducking and not retaliating when mad kings throw spears you--it's also realizing that the Lord uses those attacks to refine the order of King Saul from our own hearts.
From my own heart.
This truth has moved me from the grim obedience of forgiveness to an attitude of gratitude. I can honestly say I'm thankful for the "spears" that have been hurled our way throughout our 30+ years of ministry. I'm grateful for the opportunities we've had to humble ourselves, examine our own hearts, repent and follow Christ more closely.
But even as I type this, I know that "king Saul" has arisen in my own heart to protect and control what I thought was mine. I've hurled more than a few spears in my time. And if I've aimed one at you, I am so sorry! I hope that you ducked, or at least found healing for any wounds you received from my hand.
My prayer is that the Lord used the Saul in me to remove any hint of that mad king in your own heart. And that by His grace, you can forgive me . . .