Where there was loss, God brings immeasurable gain. (Joel 2:25-26) Where there was sorrow, he fills us with laughter. (Psalms 126:2) The end has not come, but a new beginning has dawned. (Luke 1:78)
When king David wasn’t yet king, he found himself running from King Saul in the wilderness, just trying to stay alive. At that time, every respectable person seemed to be against him, and the only ones flocking to him were people with no pedigree, no inspiring backstory, and folks who would frankly cause his former friends and family to think that David had lowered his standard of holiness. [“You’re hanging out with WHO? You should know better.”]
A musician and a worshipful shepherd, David had been the overlooked son in a family of 12 boys. When a prophet came to the house seeking to meet all of the boys, his father hadn’t even considered including him in the group. Yet, his life took a turn of events that led him to be the hero of his people. He killed the giant Goliath and led the armies of Israel for King Saul for a while. People chanted, “Saul has killed his thousands, and David his ten thousands.” (1Samuel 18:2-5)
David’s life looked like it was finally on track. He sat at the king’s table. During that meeting at his father’s house, the prophet had anointed him instead of his brothers, and the message the prophet had given him was that he would be the next king. He was even married to the king’s daughter! Then, all of a sudden, everything fell apart.
For years, David ended up having to run from King Saul who had become possessed by an evil spirit and wanted David dead. Not only did this king send soldiers against David, but he also left his throne to ride in pursuit of a boy whose own father had once forgotten him in the shuffle. Many times, Saul was close, but God kept saving David. God was working out a very complex plan that would teach David humility, compassion, fearlessness, and many other royal characteristics.
God was restoring David during his time on the run, but in the process, he was also surrounding him with struggling people. I Samuel 22:2 says, “All those who were in distress [relationship trouble] or in debt [financial problems] or discontented [depression and anxiety] gathered around him, and he became their commander. About four hundred men were with him.” These less than ideal people became his closest companions during his flight through the wilderness, across enemy lines, and into other impossible situations. He must have asked himself if God had abandoned him. All of the wise, powerful, and godly people in his life were serving the king. Now, all that was left was this random band of anti-heroes that the world had abandoned, as well. They were the forgotten people of society, and these were the ones God was preparing to become the equivalent of a presidential cabinet.
Today, God is calling you into service, and while he does that, you must be saying to yourself, “My ______ has a strong will, self-control, is a kind person, and always makes common sense, correct decisions. I’m the other one. I’m the black sheep. Why me, Lord? What are you thinking, Lord?” You don’t want to answer the call because you’re positive that you’re going to mess this up. And you will. But that’s also part of the plan.
What is God thinking when he calls you? He’s thinking that he did it with David, and he’s going to do it again now. He’s beginning a new thing, and he is going to make it happen with some unlikely characters. Starting with you. Isn’t that a crazy plan? And the best part is that he is excited about your part in it!
You see, David’s men also had the most unlikely batch of skills. There were talented warriors who could use both hands equally. (He had 30 of those!) There were warriors whose skills were so amazing that they sound like made-up legends. For example, Shammah stood in a field of ripe lentils and held off an army by himself, not backing out of the field during the entire battle. (2 Samuel 23:11-12)
I love that story! Who can do that! This guy started out as a thug, but he turned into a military soldier in service of a great king. How cool is that! I’m just someone with limited tech and writing skills. With my short-term memory limitations and my struggles with anxiety and depression, I am not all that useful in my world. But in God’s hands, in the right situation, what could God do with my abilities? I’m eager to find out.
I’m one of many unlikely women. We feel unqualified, a little scared, and uncertain that we’re going to make it from one day to another. We all have tenacity, however, and an unwillingness to give up on the powerful call that we each hear individually in our hearts. When I think of these ladies, this story about David’s men comes to mind. And the natural progression of this thought leads to the unlikely idea that we might be called to something huge, too. Who knows? Right now, every conversation among us is building our faith, strengthening our courage, and helping us to get ready for something more.
One day, I am going to have a very long day. At that moment, as I lie awake in bed facing hopelessness, I’ll try to remember this moment. Right now, the future looks limitless, with a wide open horizon. I have this feeling, this moment, stored up for that day when the future is scary and I don’t know what to do with myself. Dark times come, but God is faithful. He promises to equip the called, and I’m trusting in that while I take the next step, and the one after that. (Philippians 1:6) I will not give up on that dark day because God is giving me the key to overcoming it now.