03 July 2008

God Values the Journey. What King David can teach us about the nature of God



This is a re-post of one of the blogs that was most rewarding for me to write. I still find myself working and wrestling through “the journey”.

Many landmark, amazing, incredible things have changed since I wrote this last summer. Jesus has been rocking my world! Most importantly, I am blessed, overjoyed and amazed by the marriage to my best friend and soul mate (who has the coolest name too) Jill Still. I’ve written countless other times about what the true, deep, soulful love has done to my life, hope, faith…and even understanding of and relationship to, God’s love.

I am blessed to know and live into a gigantic part of my calling as a Dad and step-Dad! I am so in love with the opportunity to love and lead our five little angels! It is absolutely the greatest thing imaginable.

I am no longer the dead-broke entrepreneur with no income or hope for financial upside. By the grace of God, I am in a pretty cool role at Raytheon. I now remain as founding-director at Wishy.com, and keep a bit of a stake in the company that I pray so strongly takes-off under the execution and leadership of Deano. Now I manage contracts for cool military technology at Raytheon. Again, by God’s total blessing, I’m well compensated, and while we are definitely dead-broke and barely keeping “altitude”, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We’re trying to be obedient to God’s directions financially, and pray that the long, long journey back to financial solvency can be sanctifying and rewarding as we go through it together.

I am in a totally and completely blessed emotional place as we hit the midpoint of 2008. As Jill well knows, I am not an easy person to go through life with. While I am probably the most emotionally available husband, and live and love with my heart on my sleeve, I am (obviously) very emotional. I ache, I mourn, I lament. I cheer. I love. I love. I anger. I hurt. I despair…and through it all, I am learning to be as faithful as possible to my role as leader in the home, by the striking the difficult balance between humble servitude, gentle teacher, strong correction guy, coach, encourager, and always the loving, affectionate praying husband and Daddy. Whoa, is it hard! I can only do this by the strength and grace of God. But that all is a blog for another day!

I want share what I wrote last year about David and the perspective through which we can see our own lives.



This year, and reaching back by extension to much of last year, has been the most difficult, challenging, fulfilling, testing, inspiring, heart-breaking and invigorating of my entire life. It has been one of the years where those further detached from me feel I’ve been through hell and am not “happy”, being beat up by circumstances and trial. That’s somewhat true (anyone that laughs as much as I do, does *not* have a happiness deficiency). However, it has also been one of those years that those closest to my life—my small group, Deano, Alex, Grant, Pastor Keenan, my Mom & Dad and few others as God brought us in & out of each other’s lives and dialogue—have also seen incredible emotional highs, not in reaction to circumstances, but in celebration of God’s strength, redeeming power, faithfulness and powerful grace. This has also been true.

So, where to begin? Let me turn to the lifeblood of the little understanding I’m granted within this hyper-curious intellect of mine: Scripture.

Matthew 6: 33-34

33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Mark 1: 11-13

11 And a voice came from heaven: "You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased." 12 At once the Spirit sent him out into the desert, 13 and he was in the desert forty days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the wild animals, and angels attended him.

These two scriptures I believe to be offer an incredible framework for understanding my recent walk with Christ, as well as providing a model for a bit of analysis, for the sake of continual growth. I will explain further in parts two and three.

But, for PART ONE, first we are going to consider 1 Samuel 16 through 2 Samuel 5

36 chapters in the Bible, covering twenty-some years. David was the youngest son of Jesse when called from the fields and anointed to be King of Israel by Samuel. (I don’t know how young, but given that he was yet pretty small when he kicked Goliath’s arse, I think we can presume he was no older than 10, 12 at the most.)

So, why are these chapters important?

Well, first of all, David is said to be a man after God’s own heart. God clearly does bestow favor upon those that seek Him in the manner that we were created (in His image). David got it. We men should try to get David. We NEED to try to be like David

To me the chapters hold incredible importance because they detail the journey of into King for David. It cannot be over-emphasized; THE JOURNEY into Kingship. “David was 30 years old, he reigned for 40 years and he did so in the following locations. Yada, yada, yada.”

Wow. And there in 2 Samuel 5: 4 you have the boldest declaration by our Lord of how deeply He values the process in life. The Journey! 36 chapters detailing a life of battles, trial, torment, victory, struggle, fleeing, lamentations and praises of David before ever becoming King. Then 2 Samuel closes with another 19 Chapters detailing the glory, fall, sorrow and praise of David as King, but the heavy-hitting truth to me was that so much weight was cast upon the journey into Kingship of a boy that had been anointed decades earlier!

(This is perfectly captured by New Life Church associate pastor Rob Brendle in “In the Meantime”, available on Amazon Rob's Book Here)

Whoa. I don’t know about you guys, but I was never pulled from the field and anointed with oils by Ronald Reagan, nor George Bush 41 for that matter; yet I have felt—I do feel—a calling, a purpose, a grandiose mission in life, which was due to unfold.

All of us men do.

It is authored there by the Holy Spirit and it stirs inside of us when we dare dream those things that a life of “the normalization of assimilation” has stripped away from our unique dreams, desires and callings that are scripted to be perfectly refined by our Lord, using our blessings and talents for His glory.

That’s a long, run-on sentence way of acknowledging that we are not the sole authors of our dreams. And that our dreams and the intrinsic adventure and required belief-in-self are REPRESSED by the social constructs (the world) in which we conform to, when we’re not “seeking first, the Kingdom of God”.

Yet, even after reading Rob’s book, I would still let impatience (inherently distrust of God’s will in my life) take over as I just.could.not.sit.still.and.wait.

How God? How am I best to wait on your timing? I just feel so convicted and strangely, strengthened by this example of David’s life.

I mean seriously, just how short-sighted and weak is it of me to feel so restless and lost in my own life’s desert, when compared to what David went through?

“God, here I am! With all the food I can eat, so that I’ve actually gained weight. I’m living by the beach in Santa Monica…statistically-speaking I am among the wealthiest, healthiest and safest 1% of people to ever walk this earth…whoa-is-me, God….boo-hoo…I am Jared, and I am broke and a not-so-starving entrepreneur…and here I am, here I am, God, where are you??”

Yeah, ridiculous.

Now, there’s no doubt that the amount of spiritual torment and emotional trial I have been through in this past year has been real. And it has been real hard. But I, like so many of us, need a freaking reality check sometimes, and for me, I found that in David.

Hurting. Lost. Failing with the company? In despair. Sinful. Tired. Exhausted. Broke (as if I had forgotten the level of impoverishment in India I saw in Feb). In debt (as if worrying about it all was doing any good anyways), and under attack.”

Yeah, in reflection, I’m reminded of how relative life and relationships just really are. Whereas, my relative pain, struggle and turmoil was big-time to me, I will always count myself among the most blessed people on the planet.

But what I felt I was going through was my own Psalm 55. And it was new. Raw. Rough. I’ve been through a combat deployment and have been through divorce. And you know what, I would have traded being under fire throughout my tour in Iraq, traveling the roads in our “soft” SUV’s for parts of this year, in a heartbeat. This year was that tough.

To me, war is the natural romantic, intrinsically male “battle to fight” that we all search for (well, at least those of us who have not been overly feminized by “sensitive Christian man” movement.) You must first be a MAN after God’s own heart, as He designed you, before attaining true sensitivity and righteousness. Love Jesus, take the lead, lay down your life for your wife and kids, be emotionally courageous, not constipated.) Sorry for the language and the divergence. Let’s get back to David….

If David was a bit more Jared, we would have had Psalms that sounded more like:

“Really Lord? Freaking REALLY?? Do ye not the oil on the forehead, remembereth?”

“Lord I didn’t tell you I wanted to be King of Israel, you pulled me out of the fields and said, ‘Yep. He’s the one. Bam! Oil. Head.’ Rememberth ye, O Lord?”

“Lord, my God, savior of my soul, if your anointing leadeth one to live and hide in caves, chased to be killed like a wild dog, I would hate to fall out of your favor! Jeesh….”

“O Lord, just HOW busy are you up there that you seem to have lost track of YOUR OWN plan for my life?”

“Remembereth, ye O Lord?? Field. Oil. Head. Fighting big guys, slaying dirty Philistines….and now this?? I just pretended to be FREAKING PSYCHO to save my life! And oh yeah, still wandering around in ENEMY LAND!”

But thankfully, David was not so Jared-like, and its David’s warrior-of-a-life, that Jared now completely looks to live into.

So, I look to the actual construct of the books of Samuel to a clue into God’s desire for my own life; 36 chapters devoted to a 20-year process of becoming King, one verse about actually arriving at King, and then another 19 chapters about the process of being King.

This year has been the most purposeful in my life, as I have had each and every “strength” I counted my own, broken down completely and built back up by faith alone. No. Honestly. I used to think that some of the things I heard from Ted Haggard, Mark Brewer, Rob Brendle and others, were just too “Christianese” to resonate…that it was hyperbole of the faith and I couldn’t quite grasp. Now I get it. Honestly my friends, if you want to truly know what it is like to be humbled—just ask. God will lovingly, but brutally and systematically break down every construct of strength that you have pridefully erected in reaction to the world’s pressure on you. And it won’t feel so great….but it will be the best process of your life. The model can be seen in our own physiology too; just think about what lifting weights is to your body—the process of tearing, literally tearing down muscle, to refine it and build it back up, strengthened and with rest, invigorated in serving its unique purpose on your body (such as the delts and tris for breaking my stupid phone, if it doesn’t stop blacking-out on me.)

Cool. I get it. God values the journey!

…now Dear God, please strengthen me in actually LIVING INTO that truth for my own life. Patience in your perfect timing. Celebration and praise in the perfect refinement (no matter how hard core) you must exact in my life…and thank you God for letting me come to you, letting me walk with the mighty sword and hand of your Son Jesus...and for picking me and the sword up when I go through life falling all over myself. May I one day grow into the armor befitting of the righteous King David! Amen!