What do you do when you feel that God has a calling on your life, but fulfilling that calling is out of your control?
David, who would become King of Israel, had some horrible and trying seasons of life in between his being anointed as the next king of Israel, and his actually taking on the role. The whole story is told in the Old Testament book of 1 Samuel in the Bible.
In one particular circumstance, David is on the run from Saul (the current King) and fleeing for his life. He runs into a neighboring Kingdom, but the king there is familiar with him, and David worries that because of his past military successes in the area this King would want to kill him too. Here’s what David does:
And David took these words to heart and was much afraid of Achish the king of Gath. So he changed his behavior before them and pretended to be insane in their hands and made marks on the doors of the gate and let his spittle run down his beard. Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?” (1 Samuel 21:12-15)
I take at least three lessons from David.
When God has a calling on your life, but your circumstances dispute it…
Don’t give up
David fought hard to outrun King Saul and the armies that were pursuing him.
Let God’s timing win
David trusted God enough to let God’s timing for making David king win out. David didn’t go off and kill Saul. He could have, but he didn’t. God alone would make his promise to be fulfilled.
Do the right thing even when you don’t have the title
Shortly after this incident, David fights with his small army to save one of Israel’s cities. He does what a King should do even though he is not the king, and even though it put him at greater risk of capture (see Samuel 23).
Cry out to God to act
David wrote the following Psalm, expressing his trust in God when no one else can save him.
Make haste, O God, to deliver me!
O Lord, make haste to help me!
Let them be put to shame and confusion
who seek my life!
Let them be turned back and brought to dishonor
who delight in my hurt!
Let them turn back because of their shame
who say, “Aha, Aha!”
May all who seek you
rejoice and be glad in you!
May those who love your salvation
say evermore, “God is great!”
But I am poor and needy;
hasten to me, O God!
You are my help and my deliverer;
O Lord, do not delay! (Psalm 70, ESV)