David and Paul. Both passionate, seeking the heart of their Lord not self serving desires. They were both strong leaders who endured repeated hardships before meeting their Savior. Both determined and strong leaders with a heart for the people they served. I am reminded by their difficult journeys that life isn’t fair. Often as Christians we are left thinking, “why did this happen to me? I’m a good Christian….I love the Lord.” We question why bad things happen to good people and why, if God promises all things will work together for the good, why are there hardships and struggles that sometimes don’t work out to our liking?
Throughout the pages of the old testament story of David and the new testament story of Paul I have often found myself cheering and routing for them to stand up for themselves and seek the justice they deserve but each time they lay down their own pride and selfishness and do what they are called to do. I don’t believe I would have reacted the same way they did. David, anointed at 15 but not King until 37, chased by his beloved hero, Saul who sought his death. On several occasions he had the chance to take Saul out and take over as King. Instead he frequently stood by and either served or spared Saul. Paul, a roman citizen, a Jew and a believer, beaten and imprisoned. He endured more physical hardships and imprisonments for the name of Jesus than any other and yet continued traveling to bring the gospel to the unsaved. Both of these men were servants of the Lord. It was more important to them to remain faithful and obedient to their Lord than to seek their own comfort or justice.
In this day and age there are many uncertainties in the world around us. Religious rights and freedoms that we have taken for granted for many years are starting to slip away. Whether in big ways or small ways, we are all challenged on a daily basis; will we remain faithful, obedient and selfless or will we give in to selfishness? Will we seek our own justice or comfort or will we lay down our own pride and love others. Despite their struggles, David and Paul endured the hardships, pressed on and they both knew who it was that was guiding and protecting them.
“And David knew that the Lord had established him king over Israel, and that he had exalted his kingdom for the sake of his people Israel.” 2 Samuel 5:12
Gods’ hand of protection and even blessing remained on both of these men through many trials as long as they remained obedient to the One who called them. My hope and my prayer is that I will be able to do the same when, not if, persecution comes my way. The struggles that David and Paul endured are what made them who they are and strengthened their faith that their God would deliver them. Let us rest in that same assurance and hope.
From the archives. Originally published May 13, 2015.