TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1 by Os Hillman
Saturday, February 20 2016
“They mourned and wept and fasted till evening for Saul and his son Jonathan, and for the army of the Lord and the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.” – 2 Samuel 1:12
How would you respond if you heard something bad happened to someone who had been trying to cut off your head for several years? King Saul had been seeking to kill David for many years before Saul was thrust into battle against the Amalekites. In this final battle, a sword killed Saul. When the news reached David, instead of rejoicing that his enemy was no longer a problem for him, he responded in a totally different manner. He mourned. Imagine that; he mourned for the one who sought to kill him.
This is a sign of one who can look past an individual who is the source of pain and consider how God views him. God looks on that individual and sees his needs and knows why he responds the way he does. When we begin to see people as God does, we’ll no longer look at them as enemies, but as souls in need of grace. This is how Jesus could give of His life for us. He saw our great need, not what we did to Him. When someone wrongs you, do you seek to retaliate, or do you pray to understand the need behind the offender’s actions? For several years a person was a source of constant pain and retaliation toward me. There was nothing I could do to change it. God allowed me to go beyond the person’s actions to understand what was the source of his need. When I gained that understanding, God gave me a picture of this person inside a prison cell and in bondage. This bondage made him respond to life in this way. I was able to pray for him and genuinely love him in spite of the fact that he persecuted me. This is the kind of love Jesus wants us to have when He tells us to love our enemies and pray for those who spitefully use us.
I believe God does a special work of grace in those who go beyond the realm of normal response to persecution. He brings us to a level of grace we never thought possible. Describing how God worked in Joseph’s life, Francis Frangipane reveals what happens when we tap into this grace:
God made him fruitful in the very things that afflicted him. In the land of your affliction, in your battle, is the place where God will make you fruitful. Consider, even now, the area of greatest affliction in your life. In that area, God will make you fruitful in such a way that your heart will be fully satisfied, and God’s heart fully glorified. God has not promised to keep us from valleys and sufferings, but to make us fruitful in them. [Francis Frangipane, Place of Immunity (Cedar Rapids, Iowa: Arrow Publications, 1996), 93]