I grew up hearing the bible stories of David, Daniel, Esther, Moses and company. I saw their images plastered to a felt board (if you know what I’m talking about you grew up in church in the early seventies too) and learned to recite their stories from memory … "David killed the giant", "Daniel was thrown to the lions", "Esther saved her people", and "Moses parted the Red Sea".
Maybe that is why it has been so challenging for me as an adult to really relate to the ancients of faith. I struggle most days – to lead a church, raise three sons, be a decent husband to Jen, and follow Jesus. A lot of days the world kicks my butt and I have to push through, find another way, or just not give up in order to reach some sort of victory. I read that David killed the giant, and think – "sure was easy for him – God fought his battles"… and I forget the drop of sweat.
The drop that came off of David’s nose as he leaned over a dying giant, rock firmly set between two huge eyes, as he struggled to free that giant sword from its sheath. Frantically struggling to FINALLY put this bugger down for good before he got up again. The trembling in his arms from the adrenaline dump, the post-battle fatigue mixed with nausea, and the deep understanding that two whole nations were watching his every move.
I forget the smell of lion dander on Daniel’s clothes… the smell of fear. I forget the tightness in Esther’s throat, and the weakness in her knees, as she went on the record making the ultimate accusation against the King’s right hand man – "It was Haman!". I forget the tightness in Moses’ chest as a nation of slaves swarmed him in panic – a huge expanse of water in front, and the mightiest army in the world coming up fast from behind. I forget…that we are all the same.
Following God has never been easy. Never will be. The stories we tell our kids are a good thing – helping them commit facts to memory. But don’t lose the context of humanity – don’t let these epics become myths. God watches you with every bit of interest as David, Daniel, Esther, and Moses.