After David’s encounter with Saul in the cave, Saul still didn’t give up on hunting David. While Saul would continue to fail, his need to please the people and his fear of losing his position fed his obsessive need to keep David on the run.
15 years passed this way. 15 years of hiding, running, and leaving one temporary shelter for another.
During this time, David must have wondered if God still had a plan for him and if God still intended him to be king. After all, God was all powerful! Why couldn’t God make things happen right now? But David trusted and obeyed. Despite his doubts - and he did have doubts - he stayed true to God and continued to follow his Lord in obedience.
It is difficult to have that kind of patience. It is hard to wait - sometimes for years - for God’s plan to come into focus. That is part of what makes adolescence such a difficult time. You spend years waiting to be an adult, to be your own person, to have the respect and responsibility. You spend years knowing that there is the future that awaits you, always just out of reach.
No doubt David felt that way a lot. He knew his destiny. He had known ever since the prophet Samuel anointed him when he was a boy. But knowing doesn’t make the waiting easier. Waiting - killing time until something happens - is always miserably hard.
So how did David wait for 15 years without going crazy? Well, the truth is he didn’t. He didn’t spend that time waiting - skipping stones, flipping coins and biding his time. Instead, he spent it preparing. He knew that he was called to be a leader, so he led. Throughout his exile, he led raids against the enemy, he trained his men, and he sharpened his skills as a warrior. He knew that he was called to serve the people, so he served. He defended towns from enemy forces and protected the innocent people of Israel. Israel needed a spiritual leader, so he wrote psalms that they would use in worship for centuries after he was gone.
David didn’t wait for 15 years. He trained for 15 years. And by the end of it - when news came that Saul was dead and the people needed a leader - he had already become the man they needed him to be.
Are you training or are you waiting? Are you preparing to be the person God has called you to be? Are you developing the skills you’ll need? Or are you just killing time, wasting the blessing of time He has given you to hone your talents.
Talk to Him today about the mission He has for you. Ask Him how you can best prepare. And ask for his staying focused as you train for the future He has for you.