The Jonathan Experience

David tried to do the right thing.

His countrymen were under attack from their archenemies. David prayed, and God told him to go rescue his countrymen. But when David called his loyal teammates together, they weren’t as enthusiastic about this plan as David was. This must have made David second-guess if he heard from God correctly, so he prayed again. Once again God confirmed, “Go fight the bad guys.”

They fought, and God gave them the victory. And the newly-rescued town hailed their deliverer as a hero. They invited him into their town and gave him the best meal, the best place to stay, and the highest honors they could give. But people are extremely fickle. They heard there was a reward out for David, and they thought the money was worth more than this hero’s presence in their town, so they conspired to turn him in.

David prayed again, asking God’s guidance. God said, “Yes, it’s true, they are going to turn you in. Time to run!”

So David ran. Ran for his life. Day after day after day after lonely day David ran through the desert, dodging the men seeking his life. As you might expect, David got tired, his men became discouraged and probably started to grumble. David thought to himself, “I’ve only tried to do the right thing. I haven’t harmed anyone, in fact, I’ve liberated oppressed people. This shouldn’t be happening to me.”

David—the almost-constant pray-er—didn’t pray. It stands out so starkly compared to his previous pattern. Whenever he was in a tough spot, or needed guidance, or even needed reassurance, David prayed. But not here in the desert, on the run, pursued by a relentless foe, surrounded by grumbling “friends.” No, he just retreated from the field of victory, from the fickle crowds, from his enemies… and from his God.

And then these great words appear in the narrative: “Jonathan went to find David.”

Jonathan, David’s covenant friend, didn’t sympathize and say, “You have every right to be upset.” He didn’t counsel David to attack his pursuing enemy. Jonathan didn’t tell David, “If I were you here’s what I would do.”

“Jonathan helped David find strength in God.”

What a friend! No pep talks … no crying on shoulders … no strategy sessions. Jonathan helped David get back to what his typical lifestyle had been—find his strength, his guidance, his encouragement in his God.

“Firm, graceful, loving, faith-building friendships can change the world.” —Craig T. Owens

I am so very blessed to have “Jonathans” in my life. They have shown up in my deserts at just the right time and helped me find strength in my God—helped me get back to my roots.

I pray you have a Jonathan or two (or three!) in your life. They are extremely rare people, so diligently nourish those relationships. And even more, I pray that you will be a Jonathan to a friend who is on the run.

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