As I was going through a box that that had remained unpacked from a previous move in anticipation for our impending move, I came across a picture of me (and the other members of the Stoughton High School Show Choir) from 1981. After I posted the picture onto social media, many from the photo began commenting about how time had flied and how they remembered those days of singing and dancing long before “Glee” entered the cultural landscape. It was good to electronically ‘catch up’ with people I hadn’t seen in thirty-five years, making me think that I still had the agility and stamina to replicate some of the routines.
A long time has passed since the day that picture was taken – I’ve gone from fifteen to fifty years of age– and I know I cannot do now what we did then. All this illuminates the problem with time: it is constantly passing but we rarely sense its passing. If I am a typical person, there will come a day – Lord willing that I am blessed with a long enough life – that my working days will be over, my driving days will be over and the days of handling my own affairs will be over. Will I understand that I cannot do what I could do in the days of my youth?
The other day, I was shown the following passage of scripture describing a moment in King David’s life as his earthly days were drawing to an end.
Once again there was a battle between the Philistines and Israel. David went down with his men to fight against the Philistines, and he became exhausted. And Ishbi-Benob, one of the descendants of Rapha, whose bronze spearhead weighed three hundred shekels and who was armed with a new sword, said he would kill David. But Abishai son of Zeruiah came to David’s rescue; he struck the Philistine down and killed him. Then David’s men swore to him, saying, “Never again will you go out with us to battle, so that the lamp of Israel will not be extinguished.” 2 Samuel 21:15-17
When David was a boy, he faced a Philistine named Goliath who held a spear with a spearhead weighing 600 shekels (1 Samuel 17:7), and we all know how that ended. The above-referenced scripture takes place many years later, as David is approached by another giant Philistine, but this time with a spear half the weight of the one Goliath held. David thought he could relive his ‘glory days’ and begins to engage, but a warrior-brother steps in, fights for the king, and slays the enemy. Then David’s confidantes tell him, more or less, “You can’t do this anymore. You are too precious to us to allow us to risk your life.” At some point, we all need to put down our sling shots (and our dreams of recapturing our youth) and let someone else fight the giants.
We all need people around us who care enough to stop us from harming ourselves and others. I encourage those who are still young and strong to engage in the battle that rages, humbly taking the place of those who valiantly fought when they were young and strong. I encourage those who are being asked to sit the next one out to humbly appreciate that there are those around you that love you enough to protect you. At whatever station of life you may find yourself in, know that God has a perfect plan for every day of your life, whether you are singing and dancing or joyfully reminiscing about the ‘good old’ days. I believe that I still have some warrior days in the future, but I remain aware that at some point I’ll need to lay my weapons down…may I be blessed with wisdom when that day comes!