Jonathan Must Come Home

Untimely Death

If there’s ever a story in the Bible that has moved and broken my heart on the subject of the untimely death of such an amazing person, it must be that of Jonathan. My humanity compels me to a complicated conflicted emotional tag between God’s choice (David) and Israel’s rightful heir (Jonathan) who is set to be the next king of Israel. Unlike his father, Jonathan is the type of friend to David that EVERY human being would die to have! He is so selfless, loyal, expressive and absolutely fights for David even though he knows what David’s success would mean for him.

His Father Saul is decisive—David must die! Why? He is keenly aware that God has moved on and given the throne to one (in God’s own words) better than him. As Saul does all he can to push back the plan God has not only set in motion, but executed and blessed, Jonathan his son who is scheduled to be king is found doing quite the opposite.

As tension is rising in the Palace the king is no longer annoyed with God, Samuel and God’s choice (David) only, he is now angry with his own son Jonathan who he suspects is helping David in secret.

Then Saul’s anger was kindled against Jonathan, and he said to him, “You son of a perverse, rebellious woman, do I not know that you have chosen the son of Jesse to your own shame, and to the shame of your mother’s nakedness?  For as long as the son of Jesse lives on the earth, neither you nor your kingdom shall be established. Therefore, send and bring him to me, for he shall surely die.”  Then Jonathan answered Saul his father, “Why should he be put to death? What has he done?”  But Saul hurled his spear at him to strike him. So, Jonathan knew that his father was determined to put David to death.  And Jonathan rose from the table in fierce anger and ate no food the second day of the month, for he was grieved for David, because his father had disgraced him (1 Samuel 20:30-34)

If you are familiar with the story, you know that Jonathan leaves this conversation and heads straight to a private appointment he had scheduled with David. Of course, he knew the implication of taking David’s side. The two weep, embrace and confirm both their fears. Someone they both love is trying to kill David. What’s more gut wrenching, someone more powerful than all three of them combined has made a choice that leaves everyone uncomfortable. No matter how the story ends, a heart will be deeply wounded. Jonathan and David are both torn. We love each other deeply, but God has chosen one of us. Whatever the aftermath, we must honor the choice heaven has made.

As THE chosen one weeps uncontrollably—knowing he must head for the wilderness (alone) at least for a time, the other weeps with a yielding surrender of the throne, glory and crown he had held as a prince—destined to be king. They kiss one another, embrace each other as tightly as only a brother can hold a brother you know you may never see again. And as difficult it must have been to let go, Jonathan and David make bloody vows and promises they live to keep, and there in grief, the two friends part ways.

I cannot even begin to express the respect I have for Jonathan!

Not only did he accept the will of God, he lovingly gave up the throne to David because he saw that God’s hand was upon David AND David had what God needed for the task ahead! He blessed David. He respectfully disagreed with his father, stood up for what he knew was right and walked humbly from the high place of honor.

I have been to funerals that felt much like the day David received news that Jonathan had died in battle. The aching restlessness of my own heart has primarily been from the difficulty reconciling how an amazing person who loves, and honors God can die so prematurely. It is this story that has helped me time and again to remember, that God has a purpose HE is trying to fulfill.

When HE decisively says: Jonathan Must Come Home! He has already factored in the 40 years that David would reign as king over His chosen people Israel, the wars David would fight, the songs and Psalms David would write, the kingdom David would expand and establish, the glory David would bring Him and ULTIMATELY, The SON of David that would come through His lineage, hang on a tree and save all of humanity!

Don’t worry: Jonathan is home, but he is home with GOD. But not just with God, David joined them only 40 short years later! A friend is a friend forever—If the LORD is the LORD of them!

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Your Prayer Is Heard!

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I was upstairs in our Master bathroom the other day, just about to begin working on my usual evening routine. With my phone in hand, I pulled up an audio file from my playlists, scrolled through 33 options and thought—this will be perfect as I shower! It was a message I had saved from a Women’s Conference I had attended back in 2014 by Lisa Bevere. I hit play, but no sound. Come on! I powered off the phone and tried again. My husband was out of town so I was home alone with our girls. We had just finished their showers, homework, and dinner when I left them in the living room watching Odd Squad so I could shower as well.

Discontented, but ready to move on to the next thing, I decided to just jump in the shower and sing instead. I love music! Halfway through the shower, I began to hear Lisa’s sermon. It was surprisingly very clear, but the sound was coming from our bedroom—right outside the double doors that lead to our bathroom. I was confused. The phone (I could see it) was still by the sink in the bathroom. But the familiar sermon was playing and the unforgettable narratives Lisa tells in her “Lioness Arising” message were captivating my heart yet again.

You see, I had completely forgotten that my phone was connected to our Brookstone Bluetooth Speaker which was downstairs sitting on the kitchen counter. So all along, while my girls were trying to watch TV, they were hearing Lisa speaking from the kitchen-SMILE! Each time I had restarted the phone, they heard the message start again and again. I know! I assumed it wasn’t working—I was wrong, it was. The girls (they are ages 6 and 8 now) were so interested in Lisa’s message that they had literally stopped watching their kid’s show, carried the speaker upstairs, placed it as close to (me) as possible so that I could hear what they knew I was hoping to hear.

They seemed to understand something very important. Mommy has no idea this thing is playing just fine down here.  Apparently, proximity affects reception?! Who knew? Lol!

As soon as I opened the bathroom doors—the very first thought that crossed my mind was, “what thoughtful girls I have!” They were sitting right by the speaker, laughing and engaged.  They understood my need AND sought to help me out. All three of us were blessed immensely when it was all said and done! That message was incredible. The very next thought that followed without much thinking was the thought you read as the title of this devotion. Isn’t this almost always the case? We’re in a situation, we pray about it. We pray again, but we hear NOTHING. We throw our hand up in complete frustration. What’s the use? God does not hear us. This is not true. In fact, quite the opposite is true. God is hearing you just fine. You just don’t know how clearly He hears you.

That Bluetooth speaker is one of the clearest sound systems we have ever owned in our house!

And as I got to thinking about it, is not prayer wired precisely in that same exact way? It channels out of our hearts (spoken and unspoken sorrows, burdens, pain, tears, fears, struggles) right into the presence of the ONE these are intended for—a caring and HEARING God. In fact, God says this about Himself (Psalm 94:9 does he who fashioned the ear not hear? Does he who formed the eye not see?) We may hear nothing but silence, but believe me if the angels were to carry God’s Ultra-Clear-Bluetooth within our proximity, we would seriously leap for JOY and lose the worry that plagues us. When the posture of our heart is humble, receptive and willing to search out God by CONNECTING with Him in prayer for guidance, provision, wisdom, healing, joy, and hope—heaven’s virtual Bluetooth (automatically turns on). You and I have no need to babble, repeat ourselves over and over or second-guess whether HE hears us. All that’s left is for us to believe that yes, indeed the sound of our prayers is CLEAR and AUDIBLE in God’s presence. So we must talk to Him like we talk to a trusted friend and believe that He will do for us what we have asked of Him! Here’s why we can…

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to HIS will, HE hears us. And if we know that HE hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of HIM. (1 John 5:14-15)cropped-marlene-maina-signature-black-and-white-jji.png