We all love David. Good and perfect king David. He obeyed God fully, and never committed a sin, right? Is that not why we call him a “man after God’s own heart”? No! This man that was “a man after God’s own heart” was an adulterer, and a murderer. He was a mess. We are all a mess. We need to understand this. The problem is that we let the mess tell us that we are totally hopeless. The Bible says something different in 2 Corinthians 4. Verse 8 says “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed but not driven to despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.”
I see after reading the story of David that he did a good job with dealing with the mess. In Psalm 143 David seems to understand that no matter what he does, it is not too bad for God to fix. Even after he committed adultery and murder he realized that. We need to strive to be like that. We need to first understand that we are a mess, and second understand that we may be afflicted, perplexed, persecuted, and struck down, but we are not destroyed. When we realize how much of a mess we are in, that is the start of allowing God to work, but the other problem is that we always let our guilt shame us. We need to let Christ forgive us and work in us.
I have a tangible story that might help you, and I grasp this point a little easier. I have a friend from Lancaster Bible College who has an eating disorder. This past year she was struggling so badly to the point she didn’t realize how much she was struggling. It got so bad during the semester that friends were watching her food intake and how much she went to the gym. She was encouraged to go home and get some help. She went home, and things got worse for a while. One night she was so tired of struggling and being so sick and she was at the end of herself. She recognized that she was struggling and needed God’s help. She cried out to him, and she was determined to go to a place that would help her. That is so important in our faith. Realizing we have struggles is an essential part of Christianity. We need to realize this because then grace can set us free. If we deny that we struggle we don’t see the need for a savior.
So my friend got help for a while. She battled and still battles thoughts every day. So you ask “did the help really work since she is still battling?” Heck yes, along with being able to see all the things she is struggling with, she understands that she is not destroyed or destined for nothing. This struggle does not put her out of the grace of God and she knows that. She is an example of a person who can recognize a struggle and its ramifications, yet does not view it as something that has destroyed her. That is why I love the story of David. He was not perfect. When he committed adultery and murder he admitted it. Psalm 51 is his honest confession of it. He also understood that the sin did not destroy him. God is way more powerful than allowing some sin to destroy his creation that was made for him.
In summary, remember we are all sinners. Sin is evil, and we need to understand the ramifications of it. On the other hand we need to understand that realizing we sin should not make us feel destroyed and without hope. This is what makes people men and women after God’s own heart. Those people let God work in their lives and eliminate the sin from their lives. They don’t have to live thinking that they are destroyed, because like David, and my friend, God has made them new. His grace is always enough.
Em Taylor is a student at Lancaster Bible College and has worked on summer staff at Delanco Camp. Image credit: Matt Gruber, via CreationSwap.