David: The Illustrated Novel by Michael Hicks Thompson

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Being Human

Saul by Andrew ChandlerThen Saul said, "Thus shall you say to David, 'The king desires no marriage present except a hundred foreskins of the Philistines, that he may be avenged on the king's enemies.'" Now Saul planned to make David fall by the hand of the Philistines. When his servants told David these words, David was well pleased to be the king's son-in-law. —1 Samuel 18: 25-26

We may think that God acts only through goodness. And certainly there are the rare St. Francis and Mother Teresa who show us more clearly what a life consistently devoted to love looks like from the outside. But most of us are not saints, and even the saints experienced challenges and had moments of doubt.

What we are is human, with all the dreams and nightmares, kindness and self-absorption that characterize our human state.  Yet as flawed as we are, we are still the agents of God’s action.

Saul and David are in a dance of manipulation, each seemingly scheming to outwit the other. David vying for advancement; Saul determined to destroy the challenge to his throne. Both are acting to their own advantage, but even in all the machinations, God’s hand is there. David is God’s chosen; he will become king. We begin to see he is not perfect, and yet he is anointed to carry out God’s plan.

David's story can give us hope. Despite our failings and inadequacies, God can still use us. Despite our humanness, we can still offer ourselves in service to the divine.


Is it possible to set ourselves beyond the reach of human love and divine redemption for reasons that we cannot possibly comprehend?  How can one human being embody both gentle beauty and willful meanness all at the same time?  Are we ultimately responsible for our own incomprehensible, destructive actions, or is there an unseen hand at work (God?) behind even our darkest impulses? 

Lee Ramsey 
excerpted from The Makings of a Prodigal Son


"Do not be afraid," Samuel replied. "You have done all this evil; yet do not turn away from the Lord, but serve the LORD with all your heart." —1 Samuel 12:20 NIV


In the faces of men and women, I see God. — Walt Whitman


A Prayer for Facing Temptation
Gracious God, I so easily fall prey to patterns of behavior that separate me from you and others. I want to do the right thing, the good thing, the loving thing, but temptation stalks the rim of my life like a prowling animal. Before I know it, I’ve fallen into its grasp and begun the downward spiral into what is less than full life.

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My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.—Psalm 73:26 

We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.                                                                                         

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin


God desires humans to be partners in making holy not only the name of God, but the whole of God’s creation. God desires us to be change agents, co-consecrators with God… 

George Yandell
excerpted from Hallowed Be Your Name


Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly. —Matthew 26:75 


In Jesus we see a God who is caring, healing, redemptive and reconciling. We do not see a God who punishes, but rather a God that seeks to restore us to our full humanity. We see a God who is more interested in blessing than punishing, more inclined to raise up than strike down. Our human propensity to misuse power distorts our humanity, sometimes to the point where it is unrecognizable. 

C. Douglas Simmons
excerpted from Does God punish us for our sins?


Sometimes this human stuff is slimy and pathetic ... but better to feel it and talk about it and walk through it than to spend a lifetime being silently poisoned. — Anne Lamott


The commitment of Christ is always to see what our possibility is. He never looked at an individual that he didn’t see potential there, because he knew that through God’s grace that person could become less of what they had been and more of what God would have them be.

Brooks Ramsey
excerpted from Beyond Nothing But to More Than