Providing Comfort

Life Notes—June 28, 2012

“Now the spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord tormented him.  And whenever the evil spirit from God came upon Saul, David took the lyre and played it with his hand, and Saul would be relieved and feel better, and the evil spirit would depart from him.”  1 Samuel 16: 14, 23 

King Saul was a temperamental man.  Those around him said he had an ‘evil spirit from the Lord (that) tormented him.’  He was given to fits of rage and the resulting unpredictable and unpleasant behaviors that can accompany one in ill humor.  Saul was convinced, in a calmer moment, to send his servants to find someone who could play music for him to calm him down.  His servants found David.  And, as recorded in the passage above, when David played his lyre, ‘Saul would be relieved and feel better.’ 

One of the first songs I ever wrote was titled, “My Friend.”  It was about my guitar and how music helped me through some of the most tumultuous years of my teenage life.  Many days I would feel as if I were teetering on the brink until I could pick up my guitar and release my pent-up frustrations through song.  “And so I come to you, again, my friend,” is one of the lines I still remember from the song. 

Where do we turn when an ‘evil spirit’ comes upon us?  I felt my gift of music was a divine outlet.  Others use gardening or reading or spending time with friends or exercise or meditation.  But one thing is certain when life turns sour: we must find a way to put some distance—physical or mental or emotional—between us and our unpleasant situation.  I used my guitar.  Saul used David.  But we not only need to find an outlet for ourselves, we are also called to provide a lifeline to others. 

The example of David providing comfort to Saul is a precursor to our call to provide comfort as Christians.  In passages we call the Beatitudes (Matthew 5) Jesus says, “Blessed are the merciful” and “Blessed are the peacemakers.”  We are called to care for those who cannot care for themselves.  We are called to intervene in unfortunate situations.  And we are called to be calming spirits to help other find relief and feel better.  And we are all gifted in many ways to do so, be it writing letters, making phone calls, providing transportation, fixing a meal or a host of other kindnesses, large or small.  The needs are tremendous and they are all around us.  But God does not call us to solve every one of the world’s problems, only to positively impact a few of them. 

Both Tom and Mitch continue their seven-week series on David this Sunday, Tom downtown and Mitch at the west campus.  Their sermon title will be “David and Saul,” based on 1 Samuel 16:14-23.  Life worship is at 10:00 AM in Brady Hall, traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00.  Worship at the west campus begins at 9:00 and 11:00. 

Come home to church this Sunday.  Where in the world are you being called to serve?

Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator

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