David’s life teaches me so much about what it means to be a leader. As I read through the final chapters of I Samuel I saw a man who spent a great part of his younger years running for his life. I am sure there were moments midst his running that he felt discouraged and unsure of the future. However I loved how God gave him the support of Samuel and Jonathan when he needed it most, in the earlier stages of his calling. The immediate moments that followed being anointed as the future King.
Now, although I never posted my thoughts on the amazing friendship Jonathan and David shared, I couldn’t help but feel inspired to pray to God to send me a friend or someone who like Jonathan who in this stage of my life is there to not just listen but encourage me and allows me the room to live in the emotions and fears I am facing in this season. I admired how Jonathan recognized David running and sought him out to encourage him in chapter 20 of I Samuel. Even despite his father’s beliefs and thoughts, Jonathan was loyal and I also can’t but pray that God enables me to be that kind of friend and leader in society my entire life.
It is so interesting to me that Jonathan’s death comes almost as suddenly as his relationship with David started. In David’s most distraught stages of life God had placed the right people in his life to encourage him and remind him midst fear that he was called to be a king of thousands. So my true question was how David must have felt when not only Samuel passed away but in fact his best friend, comrade Jonathan. Where did David find his strength? Where did he find his courage? What made him a man after God’s own heart? Truth is he was naturally alone but spiritually God had not forsaken him, and I believe that despite the uncertainty certain strongholds may have brought him, one thing that David never failed to do was to seek God and run to God when his plan, his ways and his agenda failed. He lived his life freely but time after time as you read through the chapters of his life, David would pray, wait for an answer and then immediately move. This is where I feel many of us including me mess up, doing the seeking without the living, maybe forgetting the obedience part. Doing the waiting but somehow forgetting the praying, or a combination of each of these things.
There is sincere truth in the saying that God has people in our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime and I think sometimes it is easy to attach ourselves to those relationships rather than to the one who really gives each one of us a true purpose and depth, Jesus. David could have become depressed and in fact given up but he never lost sight of the fact that God is God. He praised God in the storm, he never forgot the goodness of God that was ever present in his life. He may have been physically alone but in fact he believed with all his heart that when mother and father forsook him God gave him hope (Psalm 27:10). Even midst the sorrow of losing a friend and even a mentor almost simultaneously David ran to Jesus and mourned at his feet. This illustration was something that comparatively reminded me of Jesus.
To be honest lately I’ve experienced moments where I have felt alone. I haven’t been too sure on how to express myself and quite frankly have a hard time trusting that those people who say they’ll be there for me, will actually be there. I sometimes test friendships hoping that the true friends will prove themselves and yet I end up hurting myself and pushing them away. Now it is hard to stop such a vicious cycle when you have a really hard time trusting people, and I’ll admit I am in the wrong for behaving this way and that too frustrates me, but let’s be honest and see who hasn’t felt this way before? Who is okay with the disappointments that may have come from ended or abusive relationships. So as a result I sabotage things myself, because it’s better things end on my terms than to be left abandoned, heart in and wondering what happened? Now, as I look at what I have confessed, I don’t see a person living like Jesus. And as I began to ponder on Jesus and his life, and his relationships I was left feeling humbled and assured that Jesus knew what I was experiencing, but handled his situations with total class and humility. How? Let me show you.
Jesus had 12 disciples but I felt He was only really close to 3 of them Peter, James and John. Yet, even in being that close to them He was denied by Peter, betrayed by Judas, unrecognized by his disciples upon his Resurrection from the grave, never was visited by any of the men, nor his body taken care of by any of them after his death, he was abandoned by his friends and forgotten upon his death. Now I am not Jesus but in similar ways who hasn’t gone through similar issues in their lives? Your close friends forget your birthday, leave you out of an event they are all going to, you’ve proven your loyalty and yet you still feel as if they do not appreciate you, you’re constantly sacrificing yourself, your needs and your ideas for the betterment of the group, you’re a burden bearer and yet alone. You are constantly dying to yourself and nobody is there to help you…except Jesus.
I look at how easily Jesus could have become discouraged, frustrated and saddened by the mere fact that despite all the miracles He had performed, all the love He had shown others, He had to search them out and prove once again to them who He was. Hadn’t he shown the world His loyalty when He died on the cross. When He not only gave His life but paid the ultimate price for them and us all? But how great of an example Jesus is of a leader. In it all He did not do any of those things and in that He proved to me that although I may feel alone; although there may be times where the good you and I do in this world is not remembered by those who should remember and although you have to be strong enough to bear others burdens midst having your own, Jesus shows us that even in those moments if God is for us who can be against us.
There comes a point in all of our walks where all we might have to hold on to is the very promises of God. We may look around us and feel alone as if everyone around us is just to oblivious to the fact that we are emotionally distraught and having a hard time expressing the very heart and core of our struggle. Our crys for help seem to be misguided, misunderstood and we fail to reach out because quite frankly you have no idea how to even begin to express to anyone just how you feel. Your fears and troubles stretch far beyond what you even know and the thought of trying to understand that all ends in frustration and hopelessness. Not a fun place to be ever and so rather than stopping, we run. At least somehow we are seeing some results but even the most elite runners get tired and need to rest sometimes.
Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Or as another translation of this verse says: We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.
How easily we forget that Jesus knows exactly how we we feel. He is the author of our stories, the perfecter of the imperfect. He has gone through life so that we might live. I encourage those of you who feel alone to press into Jesus and with his help continue living. Believing that the good that He has started in your life, He will perfect. Each day you wake up and your two feet hit the floor God has enabled you to live life again. You may have to prove your worth to people, you may have to show your wounds but God has got your back. Be strong and stay strong. The best is yet to come.
You are not forsaken.