Taking the Long View
“As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless. He is a shield for all who take refuge in him” —2 Samuel 22:31, NIV.
This gem comes in the midst of many more. David is singing praises to God, recounting how God has brought him through so many difficult places during his years of exile being pursued by Saul, and then throughout his years as king.
It took a long time for David to finally see the fulfillment of the promise that Samuel made to him when this servant anointed him as king. He was only a boy then, and he would go through some terrifying times before he finally ascended to the throne of Israel. Being king wasn’t always easy either.
But as a boy, then as a young man, then as a mature man, David would have wondered in all his dark moments whether or not God was going to make good on his promise. As he sings this song of praise, he remembers those awful times as he rejoices in how God delivered him from them.
Without a doubt, we repeat David’s story in our own lives. In those dark times, we remember the promises and wonder if, this time, they will be fulfilled. We want God to hurry; better yet, not to put us into these situations that test our resolve and shake our faith. Even trouble that is of our own making can be useful in our journey, even though God would have spared us the pain if we had followed him more closely. David knew that reality too.
In the end, David acknowledges that God makes no mistakes, and that he keeps his promises. Though the journey may get rough at times, he protects those who shelter in him from anything that can’t make a contribution to their spiritual growth.
Ours is a journey that will take a lifetime of trust and obedience. I read this interesting quote this morning, written by Harriet Crosby in A Well Watered Garden. She said: “I must be faithful to provide the conditions for growth in my spiritual garden by practicing the disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and worship. But it is God who brings about deep, lasting spiritual growth. And that takes a lifetime…God grows my spirit in His own time, and because He takes the long view, so can I. That is the joy of grace.”