Today begins the first day of “fall break”. It’s just a week before diving into the 3rd quarter of SBS but I think it will be just right… just a bit of time to catch up on sleep, stare off into space and do something fun before diving into the Old Testament prophets.
The last week was pretty interesting. Before this week I had gone through a lot of emotional ups and downs but it wasn’t until this week that I felt “breakdown” looming. Yesterday, at (what felt like) the end of my rope I had a kind of epiphany; breakdown and breakthrough look very much the same. Sometimes they are the same.
So yesterday, after very little sleep because of an unhappy stomach I got up around 6am and just went directly to the classroom. I talked to God a little, made a cup of tea and got started on what was a ridiculous amount of homework. Every minute of that time was a battle to keep working. If you can imagine me bleary eyed, sitting before my charts with a pained look on my face- almost getting up out of my seat every five minutes to walk away, but then pushing forward with decidedly irresolute determination.
A few nice friends came in at different points and gave me encouragement.
Push. Push. Push. I actually asked God several times, “Should I keep going?” and He said, “Keep going.”
Then I got to 2 Samuel 7…. In the past, when I read this story, or it was referred to, I always thought that there was something wrong about David wanting to build a temple for God, like it was arrogant or something. I thought God’s response was a kind of rebuke. But clearly I had never really read it before. Especially not in context.
David is chosen by God when he is young to be the next “prince” or leader of Israel. Between his being anointed by Samuel and his becoming king there are a lot of years of him running from King Saul. In that time David discovers some beautiful things about his God. Psalm 57:2-3 was written while David was hiding from Saul in a cave;
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!
He knows God’s heart, he is faithful to God’s call and even when he’s given two chances to kill Saul, and no one would fault him for doing so, he doesn’t take those opportunities, believing that God Himself will take care of His plans for them.
Which He does. Saul dies (by his own sword) and David is made king. After a few intrigues and many battles, David is ecstatic with gratitude. He is searching high and low for people to show kindness to because he has been given so much. After a house is built for him, David looks to God and says, “I have a house but the ark of God does not!?!” He wants to give back to God.
Through the prophet Nathan, God basically says to David, “Hold up, buddy, it’s not your turn yet. I’m not done blessing you.”
God then goes on to list all the things HE will do for and through David.
Then David breaks into this sweet prayer of gratitude and he says something that just jumped out of the page to me and caused me to realize what God was wanting to say to me through this chapter;
“Because of your promise, and according to your own heart, you have brought about all this greatness, to make your servant know it.”
2 Samuel 7:21
It highlighted something I’d heard a few days before but hadn’t really taken in; “God loves to treat people better than they deserve.”– Ron Smith (What would take much longer to explain is the Hebrew word hesed, but it is worth learning)
Talking to a friend this last week, I expressed how exhausted I was from my own inner judge. I’ve been walking around feeling like I’m doing everything wrong- I hadn’t any money to pay my bills, I was always behind in my school work…. all the way to not being a good recycler. I’ve been walking around carrying these glaring failures. My friend very lovingly suggested that what I need is some “spoiling”, some excessive verbal affirmations from friends and gifts that go beyond my sense of ‘deserving’. Then she proceeded to be the first by going into great detail about the beauty she sees in me. She also bought me dinner.
Then yesterday at the end of class a friend asked me how much I still owed for this quarter. It was around $600. He said, “I’m going to pay all of it.”
I think sometimes I get so focused on what I “deserve” (which, in my mind is a lot of punishment and derision) that I don’t allow myself to see the absolute abundance that is being poured out for me. So while I didn’t finish the book due yesterday, I did receive a huge helping of undeserved favor and love from the God who loves to treat me better than I deserve. It was actually when I got to that chapter that He said, “this is why I wanted you to keep going. Not because I want you to have a mental breakdown, but because I wanted you to read this and hear this.”
And I heard it. I hear you, Papa. Thank you.