January 12, 2013

“David departed from there and escaped to the cave of Adullam. And when his brothers and all his father’s house heard it, they went down there to him. And everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was bitter in soul, gathered to him.  And he became captain over them…” 1 Samuel 22:1-27a

“Church Chairs for Sale!”Chairs

Actually, they are not for sale; sorry if I got your hopes up.  This last week I have worked with a local Church to move the chairs from the Church plant that we closed 11 months ago.  They have sat in storage these last several months while we soak on closing the church.  It is now very obvious that we are done, so it is time.  It is time to start moving the remnants of that endeavor.

I am surprised and a little embarrassed by the emotions those stupid chairs have raised in me.  Getting rid of those chairs has made me rather melancholy.  It is not like I love the chairs, although they are very nice.  It is not like I have anything else that I can use those chairs for.  I have told myself, “They are inanimate objects that should be put to the use that they were originally purchased.”  One would think that seeing those chairs back in a church building again would be a good thing.  It is a good thing.  Yet, I have been surprised at how bitter it tastes.

I know the reason that the taste of this chore is not very pleasing is not due to the chairs.  It is what the chairs represent – an end of a dream.  Five years ago, we had great hopes.  We had felt like this was God’s plan.  I remember going through the process of purchasing those chairs.  I had not envisioned this week and arranging for them to go someplace else.  The vision did not work out like I had thought.

I wonder what David was thinking when he sat in that cave of Adullam.  David had been a commander in  Saul’s army.  They had sung songs about him.  He had been in the inner circle of the King of Israel.  He was the son-in-law of the King. His best friend was the heir to the throne.  He would have known everyone worth knowing in Israel and they would have known him.  Samuel had anointed him to be King.  I am sure that David had a vision of what that was going to look like.  Since he had been anointed, I imagine that he may have thought that his path to the throne would maybe come through his position as a commander or maybe as a result of marrying Michal or maybe work something out with Jonathan.

Landscape with David at the Cave of Adullam

Landscape with David at the Cave of Adullam (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I cannot imagine that David had foreseen the cave of Adullam as his path to the throne.  David had to have wondered how his present circumstances were going to work out.  All you have to do is read the Psalms to hear the melancholy associated with David not understanding God’s will for his life.

We have the benefit of knowing the rest of the story.  We can read about how God was making David more and more into a man after His own heart.  I believe that this period in the wilderness was essential to molding David’s heart.  The problem for all of us in the present is that we don’t know the end of our story.  We know the end of the story – that is where our hope is – but we all want to know what our calling in that story is supposed to be.

What is the will of God for my life?

I know what the will of God is:

“And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.  For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:39-40)

 “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality, that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter… For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness.” (1 Thess. 4:3-7)

This is the will of God for our lives:

  • To persevere to the end and be raised up on the last day by Christ.
  • To be sanctified – to be made more and more into the image of Christ – to follow our calling in holiness.

That is God’s will for my life and for every person who has the Spirit of Christ in them. However, that is not usually what we mean when we ask, “What is God’s will for my life.”  The intent of that question is better stated as “What is God’s specific direction for my life.”  That is what we really want to know.  I am sure that is what David wanted to know while he sat in that Adullam cave.  That is what I want to know now that I don’t have any church chairs.

I think that there is a great misconception that many of us fall into in trying to divine God’s will of direction for our lives.  That misconception is that it is actually possible.

I have heard many a person, particularly in ministry, state with absolute confidence that they are called to a specific ministry – OK.  Please forgive my skepticism, but I wonder how many of them would be as confident in their calling if they were sitting in the cave of Adullum or a basement in rural Idaho.   My guess is that most would wonder, “How is this all going to work out”.

I think that Kevin DeYoung in his book, Just Do Something –  did a very good job of showing the liberty that we have in Christ regarding God’s will of direction for us and our decision-making.

“This conventional understanding is the wrong way to think of God’s will.  In fact, expecting God to reveal some hidden will of direction is an invitation to disappointment and indecision. Trusting in God’s will of decree is good. Following His will of desire is obedient. Waiting for God’s will of direction is a mess. It is bad for your life, harmful to your sanctification, and allows too many Christians to be passive tinkerers who strangely feel more spiritual the less they actually do.  God is not a Magic 8-Ball we shake up and peer into whenever we have a decision to make. He is a good God who gives us brains, shows us the way of obedience, and invites us to take risks for Him.  We know God has a plan for our lives. That’s wonderful. The problem is we think He’s going to tell us the wonderful plan before it unfolds. We feel like we can know – and need to know – what God wants every step of the way. But such preoccupation with finding God’s will, as well-intentioned as the desire may be, is more folly than freedom.  The better way is the biblical way: Seek first the kingdom of God, and then trust that He will take care of our needs, even before we know what they are and where we’re going.” (Kevin DeYoung, Just Do Something – A Liberating Approach to Finding God’s Will, pg 26)

My melancholy is actually just sin.

I am feeling sorry for myself because things didn’t work out the way I  had wanted.  They worked out exactly as God had wanted.  What do I have to be sad about?  Nothing!  I got to help shepherd God’s people and preach the Word of God for five years.  I did not get short-changed – I was not owed that.  I am not doing that now but that is nothing to be gloomy about.

God had a wonderful plan for David’s life – he didn’t get to know the bigger picture.

God has a wonderful plan for my life – Jesus is going to accomplish the will of His Father which is to get me to the end and raise me up on the last day.  What have I to be moping around about? Nothing! What folly!

I am a child of God – an heir of God and fellow heir with Christ. 

It is time that I remember that God is going to do His thing – I don’t need to figure it out.  Today, I have an internet connection and I can write a blog about how foolish I am when my eyes slip off of my wonderful Savior and onto myself.  I am content with that.  May God be glorified in that today and I will let Him handle tomorrow.

If you are discouraged or melancholy about something that hasn’t worked out in your life, please don’t follow my example of foolishness.  Look up!  Your Father loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.  He just is not necessarily going to tell you but you can trust Him, after all He is God.

PRAYER: Father, forgive me for being such a control freak.  Thank you for not giving me control of everything.  You will do so much better than I could ever do.  I am sorry for letting the joy of my salvation be dimmed by my own selfishness.  Lord, you have been so good to me; you have let me be a part of some incredible things.  Thank you for that.  Father, you know that I feel like I am in the wilderness; I don’t even know if that is where I am or if you have me someplace else.  All I know is that I am exactly where you want me to be – I am good with that.  May I glorify you from right here. I am your child and that is all I need; everything else is gravy.  Amen


  1. […] dust in a basement storage room. We have dispensed with all the other accoutrements of the Church (Chairs and the Will of God).   I do not know all the reasons as to why it has taken so long to part with the sound system. […]

  2. These are times when being still and KNOWing he is God keep us in his peace. Blessings on your work and insight. Keep sharing.

    • Amen! Thanks for your comments.
      God Bless!

  3. As one who shares your journey of a church plant that didn’t end up the way we dreamed, I know it is a hard process. After a distance of 10 years, I see that God did a lot of amazing things through the process. But, in all honesty, I still wonder about what His plan really was. And yet, I trust that it all rests under His sovereignty and was for His glory.

    • Amen! Thanks for you comments. I appreciate your words as someone who has been there. I guess we both get to live by faith in knowing that God has it all under control. That is a relief when you think about it because I know that I would mess it all up.
      God Bless!

  4. […] back to mind a couple of passages of Scripture; some of them I had just received the other day from another blogger friend. I threw away my notes, and read these instead, and as I prayed I sensed the Holy Spirit settling […]

  5. I can so relate! Had a business God called me to, only to see it go belly-up a few years later. I wrote a poem about the experience right after it happened but it took a while to get over the hurt. I posted it today on my blog: A Bucket of Dreams. Bottom line for me, ‘we’ll understand it better by an by.’ Thanks for the post!

    • Amen!

  6. I just wanted you to know that I thought this was a VERY interesting post and that liked it very much.

    • I am very glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting my site.
      God Bless!

  7. One year ago, our pastor announced his resignation, to follow a calling to move his ministry from the inner-city to a small town. It was kind of sudden, and shocking, but also a relief…we could see he was not prospering where he was, and the church was feeling the lack of leadership. Our worship leader, also an ordained minister, stepped up to fill the gap as Interim, and he and I had several conversations about how to live out his vision of God’s will for this body of believers. We foresaw a time of growth, eventually leading to another planting, perhaps with myself being the pastor of that new church. (I have just begun to respond to the calling into vocational ministry; I am not yet ordained, and in fact have no formal seminary education or training, but that is no reason not to serve) But he is young, and perhaps a bit uncertain of how to relate to the elder generation who were part of the planting of this church 60 years ago; in any case, division arose, and came to a head 3 months ago, with an election to call him as pastor – which failed. He left, along with perhaps three-fourths of the leadership, who have since formed a new house church with him as pastor; while I have remained, trying to minister to a much smaller group of confused and hurting people. So that planting we envisioned did occur, and I am serving as a leader now, even if only provisionally; but the Lord has retained His sovereignty, and is working according to His plans, and we just have to remain submissive to Him, and serve Him gladly and as well as we are able. It has been humbling, and rewarding, and frustrating, and a blessing, and a burden, and…a thousand other things. Most of all, it is a privilege to be serving the King, and I am grateful that He sends me examples of others doing His work, so I will know that I am not the only one feeling this way. Thanks so much for being transparent, and faithful, and real.

    • Thank you for sharing your comments. I am praying for you, your Church, and ministry. I am praying that God will sustain and uplift you; that he will give you the words to speak and the actions to take; that he will show you when to say nothing or just sit; that his peace and abundant love will reside in you and overflow out of you. Serving is such a priviledge. It is a wonderful time to be a tool in God’s hand.
      God Bless!

  8. Your choice to start that journey 5 years ago has caused some of the greatest spiritual growth in my life. Praise God that you took a huge chance. I am blessed to call you friend and to sit under your discipleship. There is no doubt in my mind that God will make use of your “free” time.

    • Amen and thanks. I agree that there was nothing wasted in those 5 five years they were very fruitful in there own way. Thanks for you friendship.

    • I whole heartedly agree with Kasey…no regrets! Filled our lives when we were in our lowest. Your discipleship was and is timely. God’s timing is always perfect. Your family has blessed us beyond measure and given my two girls amazing Godparents. Regrets? Nope not a single one!

      • Amen!

  9. Oh, I don’t know if your melancholy is a sin. Even Jesus asked “My God, why?” at the end. It seems your heart is truly with God and, no doubt, when your time of grief is over, you will find yourself in exactly the right place. Life is funny that way. Blessings to you now, and in all the days to come.

    • You may be right. It is probably good to “nip it in the bud” before it gets to sin. The wonderful truth is that God is in control and taking us all where he was us to be.
      God Bless!

  10. Appreciate your honest sharing and relating your story to David’s situation. Sorry things didn’t work out. Hey…thanks for visiting my blog, for encouraging others in the midst of disappointment. Blessings to you!

    • Thanks for the comment and kind words. I appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog. I hope it was encouraging.
      God Bless!

  11. J. D., no need to approve this. Just want you to know that I find your blog to be predictably encouraging, reverent, and full of incite.

    • Thank HJ – I appreciate the encouragement.
      God Bless!

  12. May God bless and keep you. May His Spirit of Peace lift your spirit and comfort your heart as He reveals the path of ministry He has bestowed upon you.

    • Thank you very much. Soli Deo gloria – Glory to God alone.
      God Bless!

  13. I don’t know what God is up to but He’s obviously very at much at work and simply doesn’t want you sitting in that place anymore. Himmmm.

    • Amen! Thanks for the encouragement.

  14. P.S. We brought our own chairs.

    • That is funny! I appreciate your encouragement more than you can know.
      God Bless!

  15. Your virtual church hears and appreciates your messages. Thank you and bless you for bringing the Word of God to meet us where we are.

  16. Thanks for this transparent post. Your inclusion of the story of David is a powerful illustration of how our understanding of God’s vision and timing often differs from His. The cure for diappointment is ALWAYS to look for HIS appointment in the current circumstance.

    • Amen!

  17. I’m sorry the plant didn’t work. Only He knows why. The church my wife and I attend is a new plant, 2 years old and still going but sometimes I wonder how long. Be well.

    • Thanks; I will be praying for you and your Church. I hope that it will be amazingly fruitful in the Lord.
      God Bless!

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