Welcome to Week 1 of #write31days2018. This year I have chosen to write 31 days using Instagram for my media choice. Instagram, which greatly limits the number of words, stretches me in interesting ways.
This week I invite you to ponder with me the life of David, shepherd anointed king in the waiting…
My husband & I have struggled mightily to accept his Parkinson's diagnosis, along with the sudden up-ending of his career. We haven't stopped asking Father for Randy's total & complete healing. We won't stop asking. Ever. Yet we have been taking baby steps forward to gain our footing on the slippery deck of our new normal.
The Lord kindly gave us a prophetic picture of hope for our anchor. You may have guessed it. The picture is a sailboat adrift on the sea. Randy & I both are present on this boat. I’m seated in the back on a bench while my dear sun-tanned feet man (STFM) is at the front with a man. Who is that man?
At first glimpse, the sailboat delighted me with peace and joy. I mean who wouldn't want to be enjoying a sailboat adventure? I saw no dark storm clouds or turbulent waves in my picture.
As I looked up to see my STFM at the front, I wondered out loud why we weren't going anywhere. The other man turned toward me and spoke simple words, "I'm teaching him how to sail." Immediately I recognized this instructor - Jesus!
The picture & the words spoke such hope to me. First, I recognized the truth; we are not alone. Jesus, Creator of sea, wind & waves, is in the boat! Second, we are an intimate crew of 3. This must mean that the adventure is meant to be shared between us with Jesus navigating.
Thus, the sailboat has become a shared imagery & common language by which we share honestly before the Lord.
Our sailboat inspires us to hold onto hope like an anchor. This hope-anchor has often kept us from drifting too far into dangerous waters of doubt.
Don’t get me wrong. We've both grown impatient with the learning curve. I know I’m not the only one who understands the difficulty of waiting & learning. Yet both are required for a faith journey into intimacy with Jesus. This month I’ll be looking at some of Jesus’ friends as they learned and waited. I hope you’ll join me!
As dear STFM & I have now ‘been on the boat’ for about 2 years waiting for The Wind, we most often agree we feel ready to learn what we need to learn so that we can set sail. Anyone else? No doubt several reading along today have felt the longing, frustration, anticipation & growing impatience to get out of the holding tank & GO!
I often think of Shepherd boy, David, when I think of longing & anticipation, even frustration & impatience. He was all human. If we have any doubt, let us begin reading through the Psalms.
Saul was God’s first choice as anointed king over Israel. Yet, due to Saul’s disobedience, God sent Samuel to find & anoint his successor. Do you remember? Samuel perused all of Jesse’s sons lined up at the homestead for inspection, but God’s choice was not there. Samuel’s words make me chuckle, “Are these all the sons you have?” 1 Samuel 16:11 NIV
David, the shepherd was out with his sheep. He was working. Serving. Protecting. Healing. Defending. The sheep. David was in God’s school of kingship.
Wait. What? Does that sound weird?
In a similar way, my Ohio bred STFM seems a bit out of place on a boat learning to sail. I grew up in South Florida & love sun, surf & boats; but I know nothing of sailing. If we were to choose a boat, it would probably have a motor. It would be easier, you know, to get places. Yet, our Loving Father, has decided that sailing is the best school for us. I’m pretty sure only the Lord knows for what He is training us.
Then Holy Spirit reminds me the Son of God was born of flesh to a carpenter. Jesus was a young man who grew up learning to work with His hands. I’m pretty sure if I were to choose a training course for Messiah, our Great High Priest, I probably wouldn’t have picked carpentry.
Where are you, friend?
Lord You are our Rock. Fortress. Deliverer. In our distress we call to You; we cry to You for help. From Your Temple You hear our voices. Our cries rise before You and enter Your ears. Thank You.
I ask myself, “Why are these words bothering you?”
I don’t like to be hemmed in or told to sit down. I’ve never been a napper. I don’t like to be told to rest. I have places to go, people to see, stuff to accomplish.
Maybe this is the reason the Lord gave me the one word ~obedience~ as my ponder for 2018.
Suffice it to say, I am a vessel on the Potter’s wheel. In the boat? Well, I might be sitting down & quiet on the outside, but on the inside a storm of frustration & discontentment threaten the peaceful scenery!
No one knows David’s thoughts as he penned these well-known words. It seems logical he was relating to God in terms he understood. But, did David ever feel hemmed in? Sidelined? Benched?
A good shepherd is a defender, provider, caregiver and the boss! He makes choices for his sheep because he cares about them. He knows what is best for their long-term well-being.
Reading 1 Samuel 17, David remained a shepherd caring for his father’s sheep well after he was anointed as king-in-waiting. Even as David was called into Saul’s service as private harpist, David returned to the fields in between.
It wasn’t until his father called David out of the field that he ventured up to Saul’s battlefield. His older brothers had long been armored up & gone to war with King Saul against the Philistines. What was David’s assignment? He was the delivery boy commissioned to take provisions & bring back a report. Obedience. I see in David, thus far, obedience!
I know I’m not the only one who feels like she’s been pulled from the game. Sidelined. Benched. My STFM as well. It’s difficult to be made to lie down. What about you, friend? Will you join me in asking our Good Shepherd to open our eyes to the truth that He is protecting us in a safe pasture, giving us rest and teaching us important skills for what He has next for us?
“Why are YOU here?” Have you ever been where you were supposed to be & received that type of response? What if that rebuke is shot out by someone close to your heart?
It stings. Like a punch in the nose. It causes a person to take a step back, a bit dizzy & try to make some sense out of what just happened.
This is precisely what David experienced as he arrived at the battlefield. David was obeying his father’s directions to deliver supplies and bring back “some assurance”. 1 Samuel 17:17-30 describes the scene.
After David dropped off supplies he ran to the battle lines & greeted his brothers. Just then Goliath made his daily taunt against the Israelites and God. David heard it.
While the soldiers ran from the Philistine in fear, David bucked up, squared his shoulders ready for the confrontation to defeat the bully who dared to defy the Living God. I can almost see David’s indignation.
When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him & asked, “Why have come down here?” (v. 28 NIV) Eliab’s accusations continued. He called David irresponsible, conceited and wicked in his motives. A thrill-seeker. David’s response? “Now what have I done?”
Oh, but keep reading. Saul heard. David stated his resume as a warrior. Saul hired David on the spot. David stepped up & performed victoriously.
David’s real life, less than glamorous training for kingship touches my heart in deep places. It’s too easy for me to look at my boat & think the boundary lines the Lord has drawn for me are too restrictive. I’m thankful today the Lord has revealed 3 aspects of the boundary lines He set for David & me.
Protection – boundary lines are meant for freedom within a protected space.
Preparation – leading sheep was not without danger.
Purpose – God’s plan for David came together for an appointed time & David was ready.
As we sit in our boat waiting for The Wind to fill our sails, I’m choosing to press pause today. Will you sit with me for a few minutes?
Let’s imagine ourselves with Jesus in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. Ask Holy Spirit to show you in your imagination what that looks like, and relax. Go outside if you can. I am. Let’s allow ourselves to feel the warmth of the sun on our faces.
Imagine the smell of salt in the air & the way saltwater makes your skin feel crusty. I’m mixing a cup of salt water. Smell it? I might just splash it on my face & arms.
Feel the gentle breeze of God’s presence with us - playing with our hair in this moment.
~ Receive our thanksgiving Jesus as we recognize You are with us & will never leave us. ~
The last four days we’ve been reviewing some of the true history of David – shepherd, warrior & king. If you haven’t already, I hope you will go read 1 Samuel 17, Psalm 18, 23 & 37. What does Jesus want you to know about His character? What does He want you to know about His good intentions for your life?
Take time to imagine yourself in the story of David from 1 Samuel 17. Will you listen for the whisper of Holy Spirit wanting to comfort your heart & transform your thinking?
*Where is Jesus in this Scripture?
*Beloved, where are you?
*Are you feeling too young to get in the battle? Or too old (or too ‘fill in the blank’) & put out to pasture with the sheep? Lean into Jesus & let Him reveal His view of your location today.
*Is it possible He is using this place to keep you safe? To train you for what’s next? To give you purpose?
*Are you a person with a significant role at the battlefield? How could you welcome a young trainee or a reinvented veteran into the battle? What could you offer a warrior in training?
*Are you a parent of children in various phases of life, growth, & spiritual maturity? Ponder with Jesus the family dynamics of Jesse, David & the elder brother. Will you trust Him?
Thank you for joining me on the #write31days2018 journey through which I am writing Waiting for The Wind. I appreciate your participation as we’ve spent the first week looking at the life of David - shepherd, warrior & king in the waiting. I hope you will stay with me as we look at Abraham’s obedience to leave everything familiar and go into uncharted territory - and wait on the Lord.
May the Lord encourage your heart and bless you through and through. May you see Him in your life at every turn and may you rejoice greatly in His goodness!
Eyes on Jesus and SHINE, friends!