I come with joy

‘The glory of God is a human being fully alive.’   [Irenaeus]

Each of us finds a story that has the power to shape life.  The depth and width of the story determines the shape of the life that one follows.  If one comes from a farm family, the farm provides the story for grandfather, father, and now son or daughter - a story of sowing and harvesting, nurturing the soil, living with the seasons.  I have heard farmers talk of their love of the land and how such love ‘is in our blood’ nurtured through many generations.

If one comes from generations of factory workers, miners, bankers, carpenters, educators, or salespersons – each provides a story with its model characters, life-plot – a shaping story.  We come to ‘admire what my dad, what my mom, did.’ 

Coming to be a disciple is a matter of finding a centering story outside of one’s self-story that can capture our imaginations – our heads and our hearts.  We call it the God-shaped life.

David’s story is instructive here on how to live a God-shaped life.  In Psalm 18 (see also 1 Samuel 22), David looks back on his life and what a marvellous, action-packed, passionate life it is.  

This is David speaking in his own voice.  It is the voice of prayer.  It is a long prayer, as David’s life has been a long, eventful life.  but, the single most characteristic thing about David is his relationship to God.  David believes in God, thinks about God, imagines God, prays to God.  He sometimes also forgets God, sins against God, and ignores God.  God is the reality that accounts for and defines all that David does and says.

18.1-6 – God is bedrock under my feet.

The Lord is my bedrock, my solid and secure foundation.  Rock is the lead-off metaphor here – arguably it is his favorite metaphor for God (five times in this prayer).   Rock implies strength and security.  David, the warrior, knows from whom his power and position comes.

18.7-29 – God brings salvation

God leads David out into a ‘broad place,’ another way of saying that God has given David the gift of salvation.

18.31-45 – God re-wrote the text of my life

Imagine: One day a shepherd – next day the anointed one.

One day a shepherd – a month later taking on Goliath.

One day a nobody – the next a member of Saul’s court.

A no-name family from obscure Bethlehem – marries the king’s daughter.  His best friend is the King’s son, Jonathan.

David’s life is characterized by God’s mercy, God’s grace, God’s love.  God is the chief actor.  Unknown David is named and known.  Unequipped David is triumphant.  Undefended David finds refuge.  Undeserving David is forgiven.  Unworthy David recovers his kingship.

18.46-50 – David’s praise


David, with all his rough edges, never gets around to loving his enemies the way his descendent Jesus would.  His morals and his manners leave a lot to be desired.  There is no danger that David’s failures and sins can be used to legitimize bad behaviour.  We read them, rather, as evidence that we don’t first become good and then get God.  First, we get God – and then over a patient lifetime are trained in God’s ways.  This is our story too – the story of our salvation!


I come with joy to meet my Lord,
forgiven, loved, and free;
in awe and wonder to recall
his life laid down for me.

Together met, together bound,
we'll go our different ways;
and as his people in the world,
we'll live and speak his praise.      [Brian Wren]