David the shepherd boy turned king.
David the king turned adulterer.
David the adulterer turned grieving father.
David the grieving father turned restored sinner.
David the restored sinner turned righteous king once again.
David was fierce in battle. He was known for his many conquests and successful wars.
But after decades of fighting, he grew tired.
One day he just couldn't do it anymore.
He was exhausted; he wanted to run away from the enemy that plagued him.
It was then that a brave man stepped in and saved him. Eleazar fought when David couldn't.
"...but he [Eleazar] stood his ground and struck down the Philistines till his hand was frozen to the sword." (2 Samuel 23:10a)
I underlined that verse in my Bible because it struck me. I want to fight like that.
Sure, I might not be wielding an actual sword, but every day I take up a battle.
A battle with my own will.
A battle with my kids' wills.
A battle with the world.
A battle with my husband's will.
A battle with the enemy.
And I am wielding the Sword of the Spirit.
Ephesians 6:17 says the Sword of the Spirit is the Word of God.
In this world filled with hate and greed and selfishness and evil I sometimes get so totally overwhelmed. I want to run away like David.
How many times had he stared across a battlefield littered with bloody bodies and thought, "How much more can I take?"
The headlines on the news and on Facebook bring me to my knees.
A toddler killed by her mother when she wouldn't stop whining.
Women kept in chains for 10 years by a man who wanted to use and abuse them.
A wife killed by her husband for insurance money.
A woman killed and her baby stolen.
A young girl brutally murdered because she annoyed someone.
A man shot because he cut someone off in traffic.
A man imprisoned and beaten in Iran for sharing his faith.
Teens bullied and belittled until they can't take it anymore and decide to leave this planet.
Women in Kenya ostracized and belittled because they were raped and had a baby out of wedlock.
Girls stolen and sold into slavery to the highest bidder.
Children assaulted simply because they're easy prey.
Babies murdered because they aren't wanted.
And on and on and on.
And I find myself looking at the bloody battlefield that is our world and I think "How much more can I take?"
I don't understand. And I'm weary of trying to.
I want to forget about these things and stop worrying about them.
I want to flee and close my eyes, bury my head in the sand.
But I can't.
I know that's not the answer and that's not what I am called to do.
I know there is a purpose for me on this planet--just as there is for everyone--and I know I have to yield to it. Even if I may not always understand what that purpose is or how to yield to it.
And I want to be like Eleazar.
I want to fight until my hand is frozen to the sword.
I'll grip the Word of God and cling to it until I can't let go.
I read a blog once that detailed how a woman stenciled her wall using a stencil pattern, a sponge and some paint. She worked on it so long, and with so much intensity, wanting it to be perfect, that she had a hard time opening her hand afterward. She called it having "claw hand" because her hand was fixed in the position of holding the sponge. But it paid off. When she stood back and looked at her wall it was exactly as she wanted it to be and the few mistakes she made were hardly noticeable.
I want claw hand from holding onto the Word of God--my sword in battle--so tightly and with such intensity.
I want laser sharp focus so that when my time on this earth is over and I stand back and look at the design of my life, I won't see the mistakes. Surely they'll be there, but I want the areas of practiced patience and effort to be most evident.
And then I hope it can be said of my efforts, like Eleazar: "The Lord brought about a great victory that day." (2 Samuel 23:10)