He was a fugitive.
Not because he had done anything wrong.
But because the government was run by a madman.
Paranoid, delusional at times, and full of self-importance, the ruler of the land had put a price on his head.
And so he ran.
Desperately, he ran.
First to a neighboring country, an enemy territory.
Things got so shaky there that he pretended to be insane so that they wouldn’t also put a price on his head.
But eventually he convinced them to trust him – and then he steadily and subtly worked against the enemy government, even though he truly was a man without a country.
Word got out about his activities and slowly but surely, other men trickled in.
They were the malcontents.
Unhappy with their lives, they were drawn to him.
And together, they established a rough and tumble life in a foreign land.
Eventually, this band of brothers grew to be 600 men – plus their wives and kids.
They took over a small town.
And continued to pretend to be loyal to the foreign land in which they lived, all the while working against that regime.
Until the day it all fell apart.
While these guerillas were out raiding one enemy, a different enemy found them.
Found their small town.
And destroyed it.
Kidnapped their wives and children.
Took all their possessions.
So that when they returned home, exhausted after their own battles, they faced devastation.
And the men did what was natural.
They turned on their leader.
They blamed him.
This band of rough and tumble militants suddenly found a new enemy – their leader – and things were about to get ugly.
Their commander could have gotten defensive.
He could have pointed out that he never asked them to join him.
He could have gotten angry and delineated the ways they had failed him.
But he didn’t.
Instead, he turned to the One who had sustained him thus far. The One he trusted completely. He “strengthened himself in the Lord his God”.
I am sure he wondered at God’s plan.
I am sure he doubted along the way.
I am sure he thought he had gotten it all wrong.
Because, after all, he had been chosen to be the next King of Israel when he was just a teenager.
Too young to shave.
The least of the least in his family.
So low on the totem pole that his Dad didn’t even call him in from the fields when the prophet showed up and asked to see his sons.
But that day, Samuel, the last Judge of Israel and God’s spokesman, had chosen David over his older, smarter, more handsome brothers. Said he would be the next King.
And David had seen God do amazing things in the years in between.
People singing his praises.
A beautiful wife, the daughter of King Saul.
Life was good.
Until it wasn’t.
King Saul tried to kill him. Repeated over and over again that that was his plan. Sent soldiers to his house to execute him.
And so David ran.
Ran from Saul.
From his army.
Hiding in caves in the wilderness.
Running from his life, for his life.
And then this.
The devastation of his home, the village of Ziklag.
His family kidnapped.
And the only friends he had left turning on him, ready to kill him.
“But David found strength in the Lord his God.” (I Samuel 30)
He focused on God instead of his circumstances.
He consulted the Lord.
And God directed him to his enemies’ location.
David and his men rescued their families.
Took back all their stuff.
And won the day.
He chose to not allow his circumstances to define his view of God.
Instead, he flipped that around.
He chose to view his circumstances through the Truth of who God is.
Who He says He is in His Word.
Through the lens of circumstances, David was foolish to trust God.
The promise God had given, that he would be King, seemed to be a pipe dream at best.
But through the lens of God’s Word, His Truth, David rested with confidence in the knowledge that God was in control. Able. And would be his help in time of need. Even as years passed between the promise and the fulfillment.
We know the end of the story.
So it is easy to forget the struggle in the middle.
And that is true of every story in the Bible.
We see the big picture in their lives, the completed tale.
And so it is easy to forget how human they were. How much pain they felt. How scared they were.
Because we know how God came through.
The completed stories of their earthly lives.
But we are in the middle of our stories.
Perhaps in the wilderness.
Or facing the loneliest times of our lives.
Or failing relationships.
The middle of the crisis, the center of the storm.
And there we have a choice, just as David did.
We can view God through the lens of our circumstances.
Or we can view our circumstances through the lens of God’s Word.
Knowing that the story is not over.
This life is not all there is.
And one day we will see the completed tale.
How will it end? How will we end?
Will we end well?
We can. But only if we choose daily, in every situation, no matter what, to “Trust in and rely confidently on the Lord with all our hearts, not relying our own insight or understanding but instead, in all our ways, knowing and acknowledging Him, trusting Him to make our paths straight and smooth, removing obstacles that block our way.” (Proverbs 3:5-6, AMP)
Which lens will you use today?