Scripture is full of imperfect, fearful warriors and champions—men and women who didn’t quite fit in or immediately stand out. In other words, it is chock-full of stories about people who aren’t so very different from us. Like them, we often want to hide our differences—those tender places that set us apart from others. At other times, we wonder how we can love a family member or a friend whose struggles demand more patience or wisdom than we can drum up on our own. God’s response? His strength is most available to us—and most evident—in our weakness.
Take King David for example. From the beginning, David was out of the norm. As the youngest of eight brothers, he faced a major upward climb to be noticed. When God commanded Samuel to go to the home of Jesse to anoint one of his sons as the next king, even the aged and venerated prophet assumed God would choose Eliab, David’s impressive-looking oldest brother, to represent the nation of Israel. When God looked with favor upon David, suffice it to say, his family viewed the choice with a healthy dose of skepticism.
Their incredulity deepened when David, still only a shepherd guarding his father’s flocks, volunteered to face off against the Philistine giant, Goliath. Everyone around him thought he was crazy; how could an adolescent possibly accomplish what a legion of soldiers had failed to do? It wasn’t that David couldn’t see their reasoning; through human effort and understanding, there was no way that David could ever slay the oppressive and indomitable Goliath. Yet David knew it was not by his own understanding that such feats were accomplished. God had favored him in the wilderness as he faced down lions and bears. David heard the beat of a different drummer, and that drummer was the Spirit of God.
No one could ever quite contain David; he laughed, cried, danced, expressed righteous rage, and praised God with his whole heart. He was passionate, rash, and unruly, and his impulsiveness got him into trouble many times. And yet David sought God again and again, even when he’d made major mistakes, knowing that only in God could true repentance and contentment be known.
Perhaps God is calling us to be more like David, and to love the Davids in our lives. It is not for us to decide whom God will use and what preconditions are necessary for His will to be done. Maybe God gives us misfits and outside-the-box family members and friends to draw us outside the safety of ourselves and into the joyous whirlwind of His glorious and beautiful plan. They may be the best models of being true to the way God designed us—with all our quirks and limitations—and the clearest examples of bringing Him honor by relying on His power in our weaknesses. Kings like David come from unlikely places and show up when we least expect it—sometimes even in our own families!
Adapted from A Different Kind of Hero: A Guided Journey Through the Bible’s Misfits by Sally and Joel Clarkson.