A number of times in life, God has seen me whining about my circumstances, and has reminded me that there are people all over the world handling difficulties worse than my own struggle. God isn't dimenishing the value of my struggle in his eyes. He is just helping me gain perspective on it. We all tend to get trapped in an inward view, when we are in the throws of our struggle, because it often consumes our time, and holds our focus. And when the day is done, we are often too weary to look around us and find ourselves in a place of refreshing. Allow me to relay this story about King David in one of his many hours of struggle.
But before you read, realize that the life of David has parallels to the life of Christ, so you may see this story first as a foreshadowing of how Jesus walked among his followers, as members of his own Jewish heritage sought to kill him, and he told Peter to put away his sword. He said he was prepared to live through and even die, knowing it was God's will, when the naysayers came out to meet him. The picture type will be easy to see. But taking that out of the picture, we see David being pursued by his own son who wanted to claim his throne. David had dealt for years with Saul and his attempts to kill him, and now his own son! So when one of Saul's family came out to curse at him, he said it was of no comparison to the fact his own son was trying to kill him. Notice that he says God might have sent this man to curse him. Is your first impression to think, "that doesn't sound like God. Why would David say such a thing?"
Then Abishai son of Zeruiah said to the king, “Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? Let me go over and cut off his head.” But the king said, “What does this have to do with you, you sons of Zeruiah? If he is cursing because the Lord said to him, ‘Curse David,’ who can ask, ‘Why do you do this?’” David then said to Abishai and all his officials, “My son, my own flesh and blood, is trying to kill me. How much more, then, this Benjamite! Leave him alone; let him curse, for the Lord has told him to. It may be that the Lord will look upon my misery and restore to me his covenant blessing instead of his curse today.” So David and his men continued along the road while Shimei was going along the hillside opposite him, cursing as he went and throwing stones at him and showering him with dirt.
The king and all the people with him arrived at their destination exhausted. And there he refreshed himself. IISamuel 16:5-14(NIV)
Arriving at their destination became David's primary focus. He was not so exhausted from the cursings of Saul's kin, but from the inner burden of knowing his own son had rejected him. In his mind, God had sent the cursing heckler to help him put things into perspective. Yet he hadn't realized that he never lost God's covenant blessing. Circumstances had him convinced it was so.
I have seen a number of people post on facebook lately something like this: "This day couldn't be any worse." I know how they probably feel, but of course it could. And sometimes we just need something that helps us recognize, that God knows how badly things are going, and how it makes us feel. Both David and Jesus were being pursued in a life threatening way by people they loved. Very few of us have had that bad a day, unless you are a soldier, or policeman. Or have an abusive family member. Yet God sees and understands how those horrible days exhaust us, whether they compare or not. From his perspective, he just sees all the "stuff going on" as lies we are to reject and get to the business of moving forward under his original blessing - our salvation. His plan is to get us to our destination....because, that is where we find refreshing.
It is soooooo important on the journey to know that God may allow some things into our lives that are stressers, if we view them as such, because we can use them to know what is really important in life. A friend posted tonight from his Bible studies, that the inner struggle is never more important than finding truth at all costs. That is a very true statement. We need to just have David's attitude toward his cursing heckler and ignore the petty sideshows that come into our lives, and while dealing with the real struggles in life, know that our perspecive on things will get us through. Through to where? THE DESTINATION. Did you miss it? The truth is not that David's son was seeking to kill him. Even though it affected him physically and emotionally. David's inner struggle was not the truth. God was not going to let Absolom kill him, and take the throne. Satan was using the possiblity to distract and exhaust David. But even if it was God's will, then who was he, to fight it? The truth is: he had a destination, where he found refreshing. Think on this. And try to put your inner healing journey into perspective!
Precious Lord, I want to see the truth, not the struggle. Help release me from the inner journey's heckling lies. Ground me in the truth, that getting where you are leading is what life is all about, no matter what lies along the way. And help me see the truth that upon arriving, I will find the relief from the struggle that I am so focused on finding. In his name.