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.

6 Responses to “The Jonathan Experience”

  1. Kelly L. Mosher Says:

    LOVE this! The thing that jumps out to me is how hard it is for many of us to give people a chance to be our Johnathans. Hurts and ego and self-will. I’d have been but a memory long ago were it not for some persistant, Powerful, tough-skinned Johnathans. CTO being one of them, no less. God is goooood to me.

    Like

  2. Tom Johnston Says:

    I have hade 4 Jonathan in my life. 1st of the 4 my Dad who I was able to lead to the Lord. Dad dealt with a lot of pain in his body and if I would complain about something Dad would play the world’s smallest violin and tell me you need to get over it, now it was not meant to be mean he said it in love.
    2nd a man named Gary Libby sent me back to church when I was running from the Lord, I had some verry bad headaches and I was taking some very stong drugs for this. Gary told me I needed to find a church that was onfire for Christ and believed in healing, when they do an alter call for healing go forward and be healed. I did and was ( praise God! ).
    3rd was Bradly Trask the Sr. pastor of the church that I went to, to be healed. I was new to Pentecostal churches and he led me through Gods word to become baptized in the Holy Spirit and through Pastor Brad’s guidence led me through a lot of trails.
    4th is the Sr. pastor that I serve under now CTO. Not only has Craig been a great friend a great mentor and leader, Craig has never said to me if I were you I would not do this or that, he leads by example.
    These 4 men have help make me the man I am today, they have been my Jonathans in my life using Love, Kindness a warm heart and firm hand. THANKS !!!!!
    Blessings
    TJ

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  3. Craig T. Owens Says:

    Read what my friend, Greg, wrote about praying for friends at http://gregheeres.com/2009/01/22/first-response-or-last-resort/

    -CTO

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  4. Tom Johnston Says:

    I’m sad to say when I looked, the knees in my pants didn’t look like thay were used as much as thay should of been 😦
    Blessings
    TJ

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  5. Greg Says:

    CTO, Glad to play the important role of Jonathan for you. I am equally glad when I was in David’s “sandals”, you ran to find me in the desert.

    A supplement to your well presented post is that Jonathan actually found David when others were unable to locate him; and quite possibly the most important – David was open and coachable to Jonathan’s role.

    Whether in a valley or atop a mountain, enjoy the adventure with God,

    Greg Heeres

    Like

  6. Be An Intrusive Friend | Craig T. Owens Says:

    […] Jonathan went to find David and encouraged him to stay strong in his faith in God. (1 Samuel 23:16, New Living Translation) […]

    Like


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