God is Bigger than Our Baggage
This post is part of our Heroes and Villains series. If you would like to read more from the series, simply click here.
Sometimes the arguments people have are really amusing. I remember hearing of one such argument that was actually kind of funny. My mom had just had brain surgery to clip a large brain aneurysm. As a result of some complications, she ended up having two strokes that affected her ability to communicate. She couldn’t express herself too well and at the point of this amusing argument, she understood maybe 5% of what was spoken to her. She spent over a month in NICU and came home.
Soon after she came home from the hospital, my dad was making strawberry ice cream. She was pretty excited about this. At one point, she left the kitchen to go to the bathroom, when she returned the argument broke loose. She must have seen her dogs in the kitchen, my dad stirring the ice cream, and came up with her own story of what had happened. She had interpreted the situation to be that my dad had let the dogs lick the ice cream spoon and then continued to use the spoon to stir the ice cream. This, obviously, wasn’t the case, but it is pretty amusing when you think about it.
She made such a big deal about how gross it was (and we’d all agree with her if it were true). With her inability to understand much of anything spoken to her, there wasn’t any way that we could get through to her. A couple days later, my brother went over to their house and my mom tells him what my dad had done. This was such a beautiful moment because my brother was able to look at her and say “that didn’t happen” and she could understand him! She was so thankful to finally be able to talk to someone she could understand and I’m pretty sure my dad was thankful that this argument was finally over!
As silly (and kind of sad) as this argument was, we all have these sorts of arguments every day. We have silly little arguments over the fact that we’re not understanding the whole story. We can easily find offense where there isn’t any to take. We can easily misread the situation entirely.
Read 2 Samuel 6:16-23
In this passage, we happen upon an argument. This argument was definitely more serious than my parent's argument and full of baggage. If you’ve read more of David and Michal’s story, you’ll be able to read into Michal’s baggage pretty easily. Here’s a bit of background. Remember the story of David and Goliath? Well, David’s reward for killing the giant was that he could marry one of King Saul’s daughters. Michal was that daughter. She loved David and Saul loved this opportunity to sabotage David (all the while he could use Michal to do it), so he agreed to let Michal marry David. Instead of Michal being David’s downfall, she actually protected him from her father. Eventually, David goes on the run and Michal is left behind wondering if/when he would come for her. In the meantime, King Saul marries Michal off to anther man. Fast forward to just after King Saul dies, King David is made king and makes arrangements for Michal’s return.
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I could only imagine what she must have felt. She loved David. She risked her life to protect him. She waited for him, only for him to come after her father had married her off to another man. I then question, what did she feel for this other man? Had she come to love him? Had she settled into this new life, giving up on David entirely? When they’re reunited, it seems that everything is different because everything between them has changed.
Instead of celebrating together. Instead of worshipping God together. Instead of celebrating God’s blessings, His presence, and His guidance (even when things didn’t make sense), she lashes out against her husband with her words. Her heart had changed against her husband. Their argument showed the content of her heart.
I can’t help but wonder if Michal had believed some misinformation. She had pieces of their story and maybe had drawn some conclusions that might not have been accurate. Did she know what David had gone through since they had separated? Did she know the obstacles he had faced? Did she understand how relentless her father had been in pursuit of his life?
Let’s take a moment and consider what lessons Michal can teach us.
She had been exposed to two views of God, her father’s and David’s. In today’s reading, we see that she didn’t seem to appreciate the significance of what was going on. She chose to focus on her husband’s actions rather than the Ark of the Covenant (God’s presence) being returned. Did she ever seek to serve God for herself? Did she ever try to discover who He truly was? Saul lacked confidence in God where David had full confidence in God. Where did Michal stand? Where do we stand? How do we live our lives? Is God real to us? Is He important to us? Or are we just serving him because someone else is? God is inviting you to get to know Him. Will you take Him up on that invitation?
In her contempt, she pulled David’s attention away from God and onto herself. Even for a moment, she chose to be a distraction. In our relationships, do we point people to God or do we point them to ourselves? Do we encourage them to praise Him, to celebrate Him, and to worship Him, or do we suck them into arguments that pale in comparison to Him. God was big enough to mend David and Michal’s relationship. God was bigger than their issues (even the impossible ones). Instead, Michal chooses to focus on their issues rather than on Him.
She was in an impossible situation. Her emotions might have even been all over the place. Instead of choosing to bridge the gap between her and her husband, she chose to widen it. Was her subsequent childlessness because God had closed her womb due to her heart’s condition or was it because her heart’s condition has encouraged a riff between her and her husband? No matter the situation we find ourselves in, the one thing we can control is our attitude and reaction to it. In the midst of my hurt feelings, choosing love means choosing to love well. Choosing love means choosing to love my spouse, even when I’m not feeling it. Let’s take our emotions, our hurts, and our “not feeling it” emotions to God and ask for His healing to cover the whole situation. He’s big enough to handle it, can we see that?
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One thing that I love about the story of Michal is that even though her heart held baggage, David spoke truth to her. His response to her judgment was to point to God and magnify Him for her.
Sometimes, in the midst of our own funk, it’s hard to see God. Other times, it’s hard for us to hold Him in a place of importance in our own heart, in our own life, and in our simple focus. Focusing on anything else minimizes Him. He’s bigger than our hurts. He’s bigger than the wrongs that have been committed against us. He’s bigger than our own understanding. And He’s big enough to mend the bridges, bridge the gulfs, and heal the riffs!
If we find ourselves in Michal’s place, let’s turn to God. Let’s ask Him for His healing touch on our hearts and our broken relationships. Let’s ask Him for His direction in our relationships. Let’s choose to love even when we might not feel like it. Let’s remember that no matter what situation we’re facing and no matter how much our heart aches, God is bigger than it all. He’s big enough to handle our broken hearts and our broken relationships! Let’s turn to Him today.