The Revelation of Storage

“I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for…”
1 Kings 3:12-13 (NIV)

It is a season of transitions in my family, and in Wendy’s. My parents moved from their home in Des Moines into a retirement facility here in Pella in October. Just this past Wednesday, we moved my mother into a memory care facility. That same week, Wendy’s 95-year-old grandmother decided to move from the apartment where she still lives independently into a retirement home where she can get a higher level of care.

As we go through the process of planning and executing the move of our senior loved ones into much smaller spaces, I’ve been fascinated to observe what things make the cut, and what things seem to have importance. My father shared with me that he still has in his possession every one of his tax returns dating back to when he became a CPA, though he questioned why he kept them. The other day, Wendy’s grandmother was thinking about her move and was very concerned about what would happen to an old coffee table she hasn’t used for years. As far as I know, it has no real material or sentimental value. It has been gathering dust in storage somewhere. It has caused me and Wendy to think about the things on which we place value, things that take up a share of our earthly space and mindshare. Just last night we had a conversation about many of the things in our lives that require our time and energy to go through, consider, organize, and purge.

In today’s chapter, young King Solomon has a dream in which God offers to grant him whatever it is he desires. Solomon, feeling the weight of the crown and all that goes with it, asks God for wisdom. God appreciates the fact that Solomon did not ask for the things for which most people beg: wealth and long life. In the dream, God responds that He will grant Solomon wisdom, but will also grant the young monarch wealth and long life he didn’t ask for.

I couldn’t help but remember Jesus’ words to His followers in His sermon on the mount. He had just finished talking about where people place their treasures, and then He transitioned to talking about the way people worry about having all the things the world affords on Earth. He finishes by telling His followers:

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

In the quiet this morning, I find God bringing to heart and mind all of these experiences, conversations, and observations from the past few weeks. God’s question to Solomon was effectively the same question Jesus was asking of His followers, myself included:

“What’s important to me?”
“What do I treasure?”
“What do all the storage areas of my life reveal about what I find important?”

I confess that it’s tempting to view Solomon’s prayer request as a name-it-and-claim-it formula: “If I put God first then God guarantees me riches and a long life!” However, that way of thinking is still ultimately all about me getting to the earthly treasure in the end, and thinking that way ultimately reveals my truly skewed priorities.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Settling the Family’s Accounts

When the time drew near for David to die, he gave a charge to Solomon his son.
1 Kings 2:1 (NIV)

There was a time many years ago that I was asked to serve on a team, and agreed to do so. After my first meeting, the team leader called me aside and called me out for some of the opinions I’d expressed in the meeting. It was one of the more surreal experiences I’ve had along my life journey. I was quickly informed that my services on the team were no longer required, and the whole experience made me grateful to walk away.

I thought about that experience as I pondered today’s chapter. It’s actually a very interesting conversation that begins with David on his deathbed, telling his successor, Solomon, to be obedient to God and keep the Law of Moses. David then immediately tells Solomon to “settle a few of the family accounts” Godfather style.

David tells Solomon to have two men killed:

Joab, David’s powerful military general, had committed a number of disloyal acts including killing Absalom without David’s consent and participating in Adonijah’s rebellion.

Shimei, a member of Saul’s family who had cursed David publicly during Absalom’s rebellion. David had let him live, but now wants Solomon to exact revenge.

Solomon also goes on to kill Adonijah his brother, who attempts to conspire with Bathsheba to make Abishag his wife. Abishag was the virgin who had been made part of the king’s harem so as to sleep with David and keep him warm. Adonijah’s request to marry a member of his father’s harem, was a disrespectful insult of Solomon’s authority and would have subtly established Adonijah’s right to the throne. Sleeping with one of your father’s harem in that culture established the son was his father’s successor. The request told Solomon that his older brother will not give up his desire to be king.

Solomon also removes Abiathar the priest, who had sided with Adonijah, and sends him back to his home, stripping him of his priestly power.

From a historical perspective, what Solomon did was not unusual. In the game of thrones for ancient kingdoms, being the king or queen was a precarious position and there were always rivals, even among one’s own family, who would be happy to assassinate the one on the throne in order to seize power. The elimination of known rivals was one of the ways that ancient monarchs secured their position. I mentioned earlier that what Solomon did was Godfatheresque because it’s a very apt parallel. It’s exactly what Michael Corleone does when he takes out all his rivals.

From a leadership perspective, this is also not unusual. When politicians are elected, it’s customary for people in certain key positions to tender their resignation so that the incoming elected official can appoint his or her own people. It’s sometimes the same way in churches when a new pastor is hired or appointed and the staff is expected to offer their resignations. As I look back on the experience of getting fired from the team after my first meeting, it’s clear that the team leader did not trust that I would be a loyal and supportive member. Even if I could have been, their distrust of me would likely have eventually created problems. While I still scratch my head at the way it was done, I’ve always been grateful to have walked away.

In the quiet this morning, I find myself reminded that I can scarce imagine what life and culture were like back in David and Solomon’s day. It was a violent period of history. At the same time, there are lessons that I can glean about leadership and human systems in which I interact. As I ponder it, I realize that have a great deal of autonomy to choose in to our out of most of the systems and circles of influence with which I regularly interact. Some of the wisest choices I believe I’ve made along my life journey have been choices to choose out of dysfunctional systems or systems filled with crazymakers.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Game of Thrones

Now Adonijah, whose mother was Haggith, put himself forward and said, “I will be king.” So he got chariots and horses ready, with fifty men to run ahead of him.
1 Kings 1:5 (NIV)

Over the past few years, I have been watching multiple series set in the history of England. Both The Last Kingdom (Netflix) and Vikings (Prime) are set in the period when England was divided into several kingdoms and the Vikings from Norway and Denmark were regularly raiding the island. The BBC’s Hollow Crown series (PBS) are modern productions of seven of Shakespeare’s historical plays following English monarchs Richard II through Richard III. So, I’ve quite literally been entertained by the intrigues, plots, and schemes of people trying to ascend power in the game of thrones that is English history.

What is lost on many people is that much of what is called the Old Testament is the history of another, more ancient game of thrones. It is ancient Israel’s own version of it, and it has all of the intrigues, plots, schemes, and assassinations you find in the history of any human kingdom.

Having just followed the story of Israel’s ancient monarchy from King Saul through King David in the books of 1 Samuel and 2 Samuel, this chapter-a-day journey is going to press on into the epic saga beginning with 1 Kings. At the end of the 2 Samuel, David has barely survived a coup d’èta by his son, Prince Absalom. Absalom was seeking revenge because his half-brother Prince Amnon (the favored oldest son) raped his half-sister (and Absalom’s full sister) Princess Tamar, and King David did nothing about it.

Picking up the story in today’s chapter, David is old and bed-ridden. The number of his days is waning and everyone knows it. Prince Solomon, the first-born son of the scandalous marriage between David and Bathsheba, has become David’s favorite whom David had promised would succeed him.

Enter Prince Adonijah, likely the eldest remaining son after Absalom murdered his brothers and potential rivals during his failed rebellion. With David bed-ridden, his power diminished, Adonijah decides to attempt a bloodless coup. He gets the backing of a high-priest and a couple of David’s most powerful right-hand men, then arranges to have the high-priest anoint him king at a sacred place just outside of Jerusalem. They then begin a feast to celebrate.

Hearing of this, Bathsheba and the prophet, Nathan go to King David to explain what has happened. David gives orders for another priest and those loyal to him to quickly anoint Solomon and place Solomon on David’s throne as David’s chosen successor. The crowds inside Jerusalem gather and hail their new king, Solomon.

Outside the city, the self-crowned Adonijah and his followers are wrapping up their coronation party when news arrives that King David has placed Solomon on his throne. Adonijah and his followers scatter in fear that King Solomon will exact quick revenge and have them all killed. Prince Adonijah himself flees to the temple where he takes hold of the altar, hoping that King Solomon will not kill him in such a holy place. Solomon in his first recorded act as King, promises not to kill his brother as long as Adonijah remains loyal, and sends him home.

In the quiet this morning, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that almost every human system (families, committees, churches, councils, school administrations, community groups, businesses, and etc.) is a “game of thrones.” Wherever leaders have power and/or authority over others, members within that system will challenge it, criticize it, undermine it, usurp it, and rebel against it. It’s why the founding fathers of the United States divided governing power so widely. They knew from history that the game of thrones is inherently human. By spreading out the power across three different branches and two legislative houses, they sought to ensure that power was not concentrated on a single throne, but many for which there were checks and balances to make necessary corrections and hold individuals accountable for any misuse of power.

So where do I stand in the various human systems in which I operate? How well do I do with the authority and power I have in family, business, church, and community? How well do I submit to those who are in authority over me in those same systems? Where do my loyalties lie? What does it mean to live, speak, think, act, and relate in those systems as a disciple of Jesus? Are the fruits of God’s Spirit evident in the way I conduct myself in each system?

If Jesus is my Lord, as I profess Him to be, then I acknowledge Him as the one sitting on the throne of my heart and life. How well do I submit to His authority in every area of my own life?

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

The featured image image on today’s post was created with Wonder A.I.

“I Will Bring You Home”

“At that time I will bring you home….”
Zephaniah 3:20 (NRSV)

Here in the heartland of America, in the great state of Iowa, we have been experiencing an early spring. It’s March Madness, which is usually a time when we receive the final blast of winter’s fury. The state high school girl’s basketball tournament is mythically synonymous with “blizzard.” But not this year.

The temperatures have been unseasonably warm. The tulips are already shooting up from the earth. We’ve already used the grill on the patio multiple times. The sounds of Cubs baseball is becoming daily ambient audio here at Vander Well Manor, even if it is just spring training.

There is something exciting about spring. The death of winter gives way to new life in spring. We celebrate the journey from grave to empty tomb. Shivering in the cold yields to basking in the sun’s warmth. Resurrection, hope, and joy are kindled in our souls, reminding us that old things pass away and new things are coming.

How apt, I thought, that in this morning’s chapter we find Zephaniah’s predictions of doom and gloom giving way to hope and salvation. And, amidst the hopeful promises God gives through the ancient prophet is the simple phrase “I will bring you home.” That phrase has so much meaning for me in so many layers:

  • As I care for aging parents and grieve the “home” that I once knew.
  • As I watch our girls spread their wings and scatter to their respective paths and realize the “home” that I have so recently known and loved has suddenly gone the way of winter in an early spring.
  • As I come home from three long days working with clients to find Wendy waiting at the door for me with a cold beer, hot meatloaf, and a warm kiss; realizing in that moment the home that I am so blessed to experience each day, right now.
  • As I wax poetic in my annual giddiness for baseball season and ponder anew the game in which the goal is to arrive safely home.

I will bring you home,” God says through Zephaniah.

[sigh]

  A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be editing and re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m taking a little time off to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in March 2016
.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Seek Righteousness, Seek Humility

…seek righteousness, seek humility;
Zephaniah 2:3b

I have been making my plodding, repetitive trek through God’s Message for 40 years. One of the fascinating things I’ve experienced is the way in which it always seems to meet me right where I am on life’s road. The Message doesn’t change, but I change and my waypoint in the journey changes each time I return to a book, chapter, or verse. I get something new out of it each time.

Like most Americans, I’m finding myself perpetually caught off guard by our current political landscape. I’ve never experienced anything like it in and find myself daily scratching my head at the headlines. Amazing.

Perhaps that is why Zephaniah’s admonishment jumped off the page at me this morning. I acutely feel the desire to find more individuals on every gradient of the political spectrum who honestly and sincerely are seeking to do the right thing while at the same time seeking humility in their quest. It’s easy to find arrogance. It’s easy to find insults hurled at others. It’s easy to find trash-talking and people screaming at each other (at the same time) from opposite sides of any issue. We have these things in abundance.

Today, what I seek are individuals willing to have respectful dialogue, willing to humbly listen to other opinions, willing to agree to disagree, and willing to hammer out compromises. Of course, I cannot control political parties, candidates, or news channels. I can only control my own thoughts, words, actions, and relationships. So I will continue to seek to do the right thing, and persevere in choosing humility.

  A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be editing and re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m taking a little time off to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in March 2016
.

The Featured Image on today’s post was created with Wonder A.I.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Doom & Gloom from Zeph to CBS

“That day will be a day of wrath,
    a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
    a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness….”
Zephaniah 1:15 (NRSV)

Wendy and I start most mornings with coffee, breakfast, and the newspaper. We read through the news and discuss world events. We talk about the elections and the latest prognostications from modern-day prophets on the editorial pages. More often than not we chuckle at the horror, the doom, and the gloom that we find there.

There is something innately human about the way humans flock to bad news. News outlets know that we, like lemmings, will be drawn to blood (10 Dead in Latest Rampage) and fear (Study Shows Water Will Kill You). Publications on the left know that their readers are motivated by fear of the right (Ted Cruz Wants to Arm Babies!) and publications on the right know that readers are motivated by fear of the left (Hunter’s Laptop Gave ISIS Our Nuclear Protocols!). What’s more, fear generates clicks and draws viewers which, in turn, generates advertising dollars. And fear creates lucrative financial opportunities (Do Cell Phones Breed Brain Worms? Congress Earmarks Funds for Research).

Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.

The ancient prophets were also doom and gloom-ers. Read today’s chapter and it’s enough to motivate a call to your physician for a prescription of Zoloft. The scenes of devastation that Zephaniah pictures are horrific, much like the scenes of devastation described by CBS Sunday Morning and their predictions of the earthquake,  “The Big One,” that will someday hit the Pacific northwest.

The thing is, there is truth in the doom and gloom. Read the historic accounts of Judah’s siege and devastating defeat to the Babylonians and all of a sudden Zephaniah seems fairly prescient. When you think about 15,000 dead in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami a few years ago, the predictive doom and gloom for Seattle and Portland become more than mere yellow journalism.

History is full of tragedy, destruction, war, famine, suffering, and death. It has always been part of the human experience and it always will be. The question is not whether bad things will happen but how I will respond when they do. I can obsess in fear about what might happen in the future, or I can be wise in how I walk life’s journey on this day. I can choose to focus on anxiety-producing “what ifs” regarding tomorrow, or I can choose to focus on being a person of love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness today.

This morning, on this day, I am focused on Jesus’ words:

“Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now, and don’t get worked up about what may or may not happen tomorrow. God will help you deal with whatever hard things come up when the time comes.”
Matthew 6:34 (MSG)

  A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be editing and re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m taking a little time off to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in March 2016
.

The featured image on today’s post was created with Wonder A.I.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Paying the Price (or Not)

But the king replied to Araunah, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” 2 Samuel 24:24 (NIV)

It was almost cliche. It was the first weekend that my sister and I, as teenagers, had been left alone in the house. My parents headed to Le Mars to spend the weekend with Grandpa Vander Well. I was fourteen. My sister was sixteen. We were given the standard parental instructions not to have anyone over, to keep the house clean while they were gone, yada, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah.

We invited a few people over. I honestly remember it only being a few people. Nevertheless, word spread that there was a party at the Vander Wells, whose parents were out of town. Somehow, the kids kept coming that night. At one point I remember hiding in the laundry room because of the chaos outside. I’m not sure when I realized that things were out of control. Perhaps it was when members of the football team began daring each other to successfully jump from the roof of our house onto the roof of the detached garage.

This, of course, was the pre-cell phone era. News took longer to travel. The parents got home on Sunday evening. The house was picked up and spotless. We thought we’d gotten away with it. I’m not sure which neighbor ratted us out, but on Monday morning Jody and I were quickly tried in a kitchen tribunal and found guilty as charged. I could have made a defense that it was Jody’s idea and the crowd was mostly older kids who Jody knew. I could have pled the defense that our older siblings, Tim and Terry, never got in trouble for the parties that they had when the rest of us were gone. Forget it. I knew it was useless.

We were grounded for a week. I didn’t argue. I didn’t complain. I didn’t whine. I was guilty and I knew it. I gladly paid the price for my sin.

I was struck by David’s response to Arauna, who offered to give David everything he needed to atone for his mistake. David understood the spiritual principle that the price has to be paid for your mistake. David had blown it and he deserved to pay the price of the sacrifice. I had blown it and knew I had to do a week in the 3107 Madison penitentiary as the price for my infraction.

I think almost all of us know when we blow it, whether we wish to admit it or not. I think almost all of us understand that we deserve to pay the price for our mistakes. What is difficult is to accept that Jesus paid the price for me. That’s what the cross was all about. When I arrive at the metaphorical threshing floor seeking to make some sacrifice to atone for what I’ve done, Jesus says “I’ve already paid the price. I’ve already made the sacrifice, once and for all. The only thing you have to do is accept it.

For me, the spiritual economics of this cut against the grain of everything I’ve experienced and have been taught. I want to pay the price for my sin. I need to pay the price for my sin. I can’t believe that my guilty conscience can be absolved in any other way than for me to personally pay the price and feel the pain. So, I self-flagellate. I become Robert Di Nero, the repentant slave trader in The Mission (watch the movie clip below), dragging a heavy sack of armor up a rocky cliff as penance to confront the people he’d been enslaving because I simply cannot believe that forgiveness can be found by any other means than personally paying a heavy price.

How ironic that, for some, the obstacle to believing in Jesus is simply accepting and allowing Him to have paid the price for us.

Today, I’m thinking about the things I do out of guilt for what I’ve done, rather than gratitude for what Jesus did for me when He paid the price and made the sacrifice I deserved to make. And, I’m uttering a prayer of thanksgiving.

  A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be editing and re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m taking a little time off to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in May 2014
.

Note: The featured image on today’s post was created with Wonder A.I.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

The Depth’s in the Details

…and Uriah the Hittite.
2 Samuel 23:39 (NIV)

This past weekend was our annual time at the lake with our friends Kevin and Becky. We’ve been walking the journey together for many years and our time together at the lake is always, for us, one of the pinnacles of the summer season. When Kev and Beck are here, the conversation just seems to flow non-stop from one subject to another from early morning until deep into the night’s watch.

With all of the conversations we’ve enjoyed through all of the years, you’d think we would run out of things to talk about. The truth of the matter is that the conversation simply gets deeper, more transparent, and more intimate. Late on Saturday evening, as we sat on the deck under the light of the tiki torches, the four of us were led into what I sensed was a God-ordained conversation about deeply personal matters. It was a subject we’d touched on multiple times before, but this evening we dove into details that led to what may very well be a powerfully transformational moment.

I’ve found a parallel experience in reading God’s Message day after day through the years. I can read each day, and even have read through the entirety multiple times, and I keep coming back for more. You’d think it would get old. You’d wonder why I keep reading through it. And yet, it’s a lot like conversations with Kev and Beck: It just gets deeper, more transparent, and more intimate. And sometimes you hit upon a detail that you’ve read before, but it never really registered.

So it was today that I was reading through what seems to most readers a boring list of strange, ancient names thrown into the appendices of David’s biography. This particular list was a list of men who were David’s elite warriors. These warriors were David’s special ops, his SEALs, his Rangers, his Delta Team, and his Green Berets. They were the cream of the warrior crop and their exploits were legendary in their day. And, as I’m reading through the list thanking God that most of these names were lost to antiquity, I land upon the final name in the list: Uriah the Hittite.

Uriah the Hittite, the husband of Bathsheba.
Uriah the Hittite, the man David tried to deceive to cover up his adultery.
Uriah the Hittite, whom David conspired to murder to avoid public shame.
Uriah the Hittite, whose own general betrayed him on the king’s orders.

When I read through the story of David and Bathsheba, Uriah has always been a bit of a supporting cast member. You don’t give him a lot of thought. Somehow, the realization that Uriah was part of David’s “Mighty Men,” makes David’s conspiracy all the more damnable. Uriah was not a schmuck. He was well known to David. They’d fought together. Uriah had risked his life for David. He was one of the best. And David was willing to consider his own man as expendable, collateral damage in the cover-up of his personal sin.

Sometimes the real story is in the details. Even as human beings sharing life together, what makes our community and conversation transformational is found in the depth and detail of our sharing. Today, I’m thinking about people who appear to plod through life’s journey on broad super highways of bland generalities and surface conversations, zipping by on cruise control but never moving closer to real relationships and transformational conversations. Today, I’m thankful for our good companions on this sojourn who navigate with us the rustic and rutty back roads of the soul. It is difficult and slow-going, for sure, but ultimately I’ve found that it leads to places of increasing depth, meaning, and intimacy that many, tragically, may never experience.

  A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be editing and re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m taking a little time off to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in May 2014
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If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

God is My (Fill in the Blank)

God is My (Fill in the Blank) (CaD 2 Sam 22) Wayfarer

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
     my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,

    my shield and the horn of my salvation.
He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—
    from violent people you save me.
2 Samuel 22:2b-3 (NIV)

Anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time knows that I’m a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien. If you pick up a copy of the final book of his Lord of the Rings trilogy and quickly page through it, you’ll find something rather interesting. There are hundreds of pages of supporting documentation and appendices at the end. These aren’t necessary to the main storyline, but provide those who want to explore the world of Middle Earth with a ton of extra information. For example, in the Lord of the Rings films, the romantic storyline between Aragorn and Arwen is a major theme, but that is only hinted at in Tolkien’s narrative. The story of Aragorn and Arwen is actually found tucked into the appendices at the end.

The final few chapters of 2 Samuel are similar in nature to the appendices at the end of Tolkien’s trilogy. David’s storyline starts in 1 Samuel, continues in 2 Samuel, and basically ends with the restoration of the kingdom after Absalom’s rebellion. The next few chapters are like an appendix in which the author provides some supporting documentation including, in today’s chapter, a copy of the lyrics to one of David’s many songs.

As I read David’s song lyrics I wondered why this one was chosen for the appendix to David’s story. I asked myself in what ways this song is a good summation of David’s life and experience. One of the things I noticed about it was the way David bookended the song with the metaphor of God as a rock, fortress, stronghold, and refuge. So much of David’s life journey hinges on those many years living in the caves in the wilderness of southern Israel and, in particular, in the cavernous fortress known as the Cave of Adullam. For David, the word picture of God as rock, fortress, stronghold, and refuge is very personal to his own journey and experience.

But what about me? I appreciate David’s word picture, but rocks, caves, fortresses, and strongholds have not been a strong part of my personal journey living most of my life in Iowa. There’s Maquoketa Caves State Park, which is really cool, but I’ve only been there once. If I were writing a song and wanted to paint a word picture of God that is personal to my own journey how would I fill in the blank at the end of the lyric “God is my __________” ?

That’s what I’m pondering today. Check back with me in a day or two and I’ll tell you what I came up with. (Feel free to think of your own and share it with me, btw).

 A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be editing and re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m taking a little time off to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in May 2014
.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Sometimes I Need a Lecture from Doc

Sometimes I Need a Lecture from Doc (CaD 2 Sam 21) Wayfarer

Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. 2 Samuel 21:15 (NIV)

The man who has been my doctor for most of my life is retiring at the end of this year. He has been my family’s primary physician since about the time I was entering my teens. Doc was a young man fresh out of medical school. The first time I saw him was when a large sliver from my the wooden skateboard, which I had received for my birthday, lodged deep in my thigh and required both a minor surgical extrication and a lecture about being careful with my toys. Lately, he’s lecturing me about fiber, cholesterol, and prostate health.

One of the things I have always loved about Doc is his blunt and honest way of giving it to you straight. He doesn’t mince words, though he may add a little colorful verbiage. Once when were discussing a minor procedure I needed done he simply laughed and said. “Get ready. It’s gonna hurt like hell.” It did. A few years ago I wrenched my knee in a waterskiing accident at the lake. He stormed into the examining room after reading my chart. His first words were an exclamation spoken so loud the the people the waiting room had to have heard it: “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?! WATERSKIING?! AT YOUR AGE?!

Thanks, Doc. Nice to see you, too.

He was half-joking with me, but only half. The truth is, every season of the journey comes with its own threats and opportunities. I can’t do some of the things I could do physically even ten years ago. At the same time, experience and maturity afford me the opportunity to do some things better than I ever have before. C’est la vie. I might as well embrace reality because I can’t change it.

One of the things I appreciate about the story of David is that we get to follow his story from a young boy to an old man. Unlike many biblical stories in which a life span can be reduced to a sentence or two, we have two entire books and part of a third that are dedicated to his biography. We started with the young shepherd boy slaying Goliath with his sling. In today’s chapter, David discovers that he can’t wield the sword like he once could. His men, speaking like predecessors of my family doctor, gave King David their own “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING?!” lecture. He’d reached that age. It was time for him to hang up his sword and lead from the rear.

A few weeks ago I posted about the threat of early retirement. On the surface it may seem contradictory with today’s post about about not trying to overdo things once you reach a certain age. As with so many things in this life journey, truth is found at the point of tension between the two extremes. I’m discovering that wisdom lies in channeling my available resources in the most constructive, efficient and effective ways. Where I best channel them changes at different waypoints on the road of life.

 A Note to Readers
I’m taking a blogging sabbatical and will be editing and re-publishing my chapter-a-day thoughts on David’s continued story in 2 Samuel while I’m taking a little time off to focus on a few other priorities. Thanks for reading.
Today’s post was originally published in May 2014
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If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.

Just another wayfarer on life's journey, headed for Home. I'm carrying The Message, and I'm definitely waiting for Guffman.

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