There’s a story on 2nd Samuel chapter 15-19 that begins with David running from his son. Absalom was attempting to take the kingdom of Israel from David. As I listened to the story, I thought “Why is the king running?” David was the king. He had all power and authority. Yet he ran to avoid war with his son Absalom, to protect his city, or maybe out of fear – those details are unexplained in the scriptures.
I thought about David running, and I realize that is what we do as Christians also. Jesus gave His followers authority ( Psalms 8:6 and Luke 10:19). Victory was won and maintained by Christ at the cross and at resurrection. We were given authority over all the power of the enemy. Yet when the enemy attacks, we run instead of standing and fighting. Despite the fact that God’s Word says “The Gates of Hell (which are stationary) shall not prevail over the kingdom of God;” we run.
I can look back on my life and see numerous times where the enemy rose up. Often, instead of standing up and fighting for what God said was mine, I quickly gave it up and ran in the opposite direction. For instance, the Word that says “let no one split apart what God has joined together.” (Matthew 19:6 and Mark 10:9) This is a promise I should have stood upon instead of filing for a divorce not once, but twice in my marriage. When I should have fought, I ran.
David ran with 600 of his followers. They mourned as they ran into the wilderness, but the man with the heart after God’s own heart reached the mountain and turned his attention back to God. It says “when David had come to the top of the mountain, there he worshiped God.” Then he was given a plan of how to defeat Absalom. He sent one of his counselors back to give counsel to Absalom.
Even when we run from the enemy, I have always been amazed that God is right there when we turn back to Him. Sometimes we run for years, and other times just far enough to gain perspective, but God is there when we stop running. He is there when we turn to Him is worship and call out to Him. He will give us a plan on how to regain what we allowed the enemy to take when we ran. I praise the Lord that in my running from the enemy that was seeking to kill, still and destroy my marriage, that God was there to provide a plan. The plan didn’t look like I thought it would, but God not only restored our marriage, but He made it stronger than it ever was before.
The story ends with Absalom’s death at the hand of David’s soldiers in battle. However, when David hears of the death, he mourns deeply with loyalty towards his flesh and blood. Understandably, Absalom was David’s son, so I understand that he would still mourn Absalom’s death. Yet, he didn’t take into consideration how his actions would impact his warriors and kingdom until one of David’s leaders called him on his actions.
Like David, we often give our loyalty to the enemy that works against us. I find I often celebrate the very things that are seeking to destroy me and isolate those who were sent to restore me. Like those who would feed in to my one-sided victim complaints about my husband, I kept close when I was running. If I started thinking too much about the good parts of my marriage, I could count on them to remind me why I filed for divorce.
When I was running, those who tried to speak life into my marriage, I kept at arm’s length. I remember sitting before my pastor with my husband at my side telling them both, I had no desire to be there and work towards reconciliation. I was done. I went, but begrudgingly and out of “religious duty” not desire. I was mourning what I was loosing, but I wasn’t willing to look at the impact on my children or the effort my husband was putting forth in trying to change.
However, just as God was able to bring about justice for David and restore him to his kingdom, despite the death of his son. God changed my marriage. The things that caused me to file for a divorce are no longer part of our marriage. Our first marriage ended after nineteen months. It has been thirteen years since I filed for a divorce the second time and we just celebrated eighteen years of marriage this past May. God is good, even when we run when we are supposed to stay and fight. God is good, even when the one we are fighting with has been joined together with us. God is faithful to be there when we call upon Him. God is there to protect those who are impacted by our decisions with a wonderful thing called grace.
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