David was no stranger to caves. But this cave was more than a place of shelter for a tired shepherd boy. It was a place where he would learn resilience- how to relate to God in times of deep loss and confusion. How to steady his feet on God's promises and forge ahead with hope. Here are some ways we can learn, like David, to practice soul-care in the cave:
After David was settled in his palace, he said to Nathan the prophet, “Here I am, living in a house of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of the Lord is under a tent.” Nathan replied to David, “Whatever you have in mind, do it, for God is with you.” - I Chronicles 17:1-2 Upon reading the above passage and the verses which follow, I was struck by my tendency to think and plan without taking the time to get the big picture. From a position of comfort and security, I start thinking I know what God needs and when he needs it. I start making plans and ask God to bless them. That's called presumption!
- Presumptuous thinking and planning often start with good intentions. David wanted to build a house that would honor God's name. But did God ever say he wanted a house, let alone that David would be the one to build it? David's motivation was good, but he lacked the broader perspective of what God was doing through the generations and with a whole nation. He lacked vision. He need God's perspective.
- Presumptuous thinking and planning is often rooted in comfort and security. David was settled in his palace. Comfort and security have a way of dulling our senses. The danger is to equate good times and good feelings with God's blessing and favor. I'm not saying that God doesn't desire to bless and give good gifts to his children; He certainly does. But King David was reminded that God's plan went far beyond his own personal comfort and present state of feeling blessed.
God was quick to remind David that He doesn't operate on a need basis. He doesn't need anything. Instead, He works to accomplish His vision for the sake of the people He loves and for the blessed future He envisions for them. He desires to communicate His vision to us so that we have the ability to partner effectively with Him.
Once God had spoken, I believe a burden was lifted from David's shoulders - the burden to do something for God which we often carry with us. The burden to please by doing something for Him rather than being with Him. That day I believe King David traded his self-induced, short term, presumptuous thinking for God's long-term vision. And just maybe, the king slept a little better that night as he reflected on God's words...
“‘I declare to you that the Lord will build a house for you..." - I Chronicles 17:10b