SEASONS COME AND SEASONS GO - The Warrior's Journey®


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“Then Ishbi-benob, who was among the descendants of the giant, the weight of whose spear was three hundred shekels of bronze in weight, was girded with a new sword, and intended to kill David. But Abishai the son of Zeruiah helped him, and struck the Philistine and killed him. Then the men of David swore to him, saying, ‘You shall not go out again with us to battle, so that you do not extinguish the lamp of Israel.’” (2 Samuel 21:16-17)


Physically speaking, King David was no longer the man he used to be. The ravages of time, life on-the-run, combat duty, and the inescapable pressure of running the kingdom had taken their toll. The Scripture tells us that the “young” David, who could once conquer giants and put invading armies to flight, was gone. On the battlefield, David had now become a liability rather than an asset to his men. His days of leading men in combat were over.

So, what’s to be done with David? Get rid of him in favor of a younger man? No, both David’s predecessor, King Saul, and his would-be-king son, Absalom were proof that it took far more to be king than good looks, charisma, and physical prowess. David was now in short supply of those qualities, yet God refused to dump him.

You see, from the beginning God saw in David a “man after His own heart” (1 Samuel 13:14). David had a close relationship with God from his youth and his love for God drove all his decisions, even the whole course of his life. And it was his intimate walk with God that sustained him through life’s challenges and temptations. David was able to keep his balance – on the tightrope of political pressure and intrigue – all because he remained anchored in God. This made David like a tree rooted deeply in the ground that’s able to resist both storms and drought.

It was this close connection with God that made David indispensable to Israel and the throne. Everything that David needed to be a faithful shepherd to Israel – wisdom, insight, guidance, motivation – flowed from his relationship with God. In the words of his soldiers, it made him “the lamp of Israel.”

I wished I’d remembered this during my last few years in the Army. In my earlier days, physical fitness had always been an asset. Though small, I could carry the same ruck as most soldiers on long infantry foot marches, “max my PT test,” and run in the fastest ability groups.

But somewhere in my mid-50s, I “hit a wall” and began to decline rapidly. By the time I hit 60, I was wiggling out of every physically demanding task. I had become one of the “sick, lame, and lazy” – the very people I formerly viewed with contempt.

This humiliation, however, was doing me good and teaching me compassion for those broken in body. Plus, it was loosening my grip on the Army as a source for my identity and sense of worth.

But this physical weakness was also leaving me with a lasting sense of guilt for “not measuring up” to the Army standards. And with the Army Chaplaincy’s push for professionalism over being a servant of God, I was feeling pretty worthless.

But the fact remained that God had called me to be a chaplain and I still had things to offer both the Army and God’s people. And God’s calling settled the debate. I was where God wanted me and there was no need to justify my existence to myself or anyone else.

But there’s another lesson from this chapter of David’s life. While we have the strength to serve the Lord, we must do so with all our might (Ecclesiastes 9:10). The time is coming when our vigor and strength diminishes and we won’t be able to do for God all that opportunity affords (Ecclesiastes 12:1-7). And if we’ve slacked off in our times of strength, we’ll regret it when weakness comes to stay.

Just think of how David must have regretted that time in 2 Samuel 11, when he decided to stay in the comfort of his palace instead of accompanying his soldiers to war. He wasted his physical strength in the pursuit of neighbor’s wife, instead of fighting the Lord’s battles. And he paid dearly for his sin. So, let’s follow God’s command to make the most of every opportunity that comes our way to be a blessing and serve God (Ephesians 5:16; Colossians 4:5).


PRAYER:  Dear Father in heaven, please help me to wisely assess the current season of my life and utilize the powers and gifts You’ve given me at this specific time. When it’s time to raise my family, help me to do so faithfully and fervently. When the kids are grown and it’s time to devote myself to Your service in other ways, help me to shift gears and do so. Lead me, O God, in utilizing my gifts, life experience, and wisdom in whatever way opportunity demands. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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