Open Your Bible
1 Samuel 16:1-13, 2 Samuel 5:1-12, 2 Samuel 7:1-29, Acts 13:21-23
Last year, I turned 30, and my best friend threw me a surprise party to end all surprise parties. It included an original song, a tropical photo booth, fifty of my favorite people, and a game that requires you to eat a donut off a string (a not-so-subtle nod to her tenth birthday, where we played the same game and I had a crumb stuck in my eye for the rest of the night). For me, that birthday signaled two things: the incredible blessing of my friends and the end of my youth.
Turning 30 kind of makes you rethink all of your life choices.
Although my feelings about growing older were a little melodramatic, the truth is that things were changing. My body just isn’t twenty anymore.
I find it interesting that in 1 Samuel, the Lord rejects what the prophet believes is obvious king material—physical appeal and strength—but favors David, who is also handsome with “beautiful eyes” (16:12). The qualifying trait here can’t be physical appearance because God makes it clear in His choice that “humans see what is visible, but the LORD sees the heart” (v.7). So, why David? He had the looks and health he would need for success, but we’re also told that he had a heart that would carry out the Lord’s will (Acts 13:22). That soft heart always appears to be key to spiritual flourishing.
Although David’s good health no doubt benefited his leadership, it was his devotion to God that helped guard him against ultimate destruction. When his youth and virility waned, along with many of the characteristics that traditionally make for a great king, he still had a heart overflowing with praise.
Surrounded by friends and family at that surprise party, I imagine I felt a sliver of what David did when he burned with thanksgiving for God’s blessing. When I look back on my life thus far through a kingdom-oriented lens, my sorrow for things lost slowly turns to gratitude for things given. Sure, I wish my eyes didn’t look so permanently tired and my muscles moved like hot taffy, rather than a seat belt after stopping short. But when I assess the work of God in my life, and in the lives of others, it can be too overwhelming to bear sometimes. Each fine line and sore ligament serves as a testimony to the adventure of being sanctified.
People may only look at you skin deep, but our Lord sees the wild rivers of courage, affection, and sacrifice under the surface. It’s an upside-down kingdom, after all. Whoever surrenders their youth finds wisdom and maturity (hopefully)—and whoever loses their life for the sake of Christ will find it (Matthew 10:39).
No matter what my appearance or circumstances or achievements or health status indicates, I want to echo the words of King David: “For You, Lord GOD, have spoken, and with Your blessing Your servant’s house will be blessed forever” (2 Samuel 7:29). The blessing God gave David’s lineage, that eventually gave way to Christ, continues into our lives today. We can never age out of it.