Our teammates, Lillian and Matthijs, presented Izayla with a giant-sized coloring book a few days ago. It is about 2/3 as tall as she is, and the cover declares, in Thai, that it is the story of David and Goliath. Iven read it out loud (in Thai) to all of us and we established that it is indeed the story of David and Goliath…kind of…not really (you can find the real story in 1 Samuel 17) This Thai coloring book version hits most of the main story points, but quietly changes a few details. Places like where Scripture says that David tells King Saul that the God of Israel would rescue him from the hand of the giant Goliath just as He had rescued him from the hand of the lion and the bear it instead says, “This giant can’t be fought with strength but instead with cunning and new methods”. Scripture tells us that young David declared to Goliath that the God of Israel would deliver Goliath into his hands for defaming the name of the Lord; the Thai coloring book says “you will stop laughing when you see my skills!” Scripture tells us the Lord chose and appointed David to be king because he was a “man after His own heart” but the Thai coloring book says that later in life when King Saul died, the people of Israel chose David to be their king.
It seems a silly thing, and as we read it aloud we all laughed at the re-interpretations in the story, but it has been bugging me all week. This coloring book never mentions God once, but presents itself as a story that would be recognized as a Bible story by anyone who cared to learn stories from the Bible.
I just keep thinking about a proverbial Thai kid reading and coloring and then years later encountering someone sharing the story of King David. The kid would say, “Oh yes, I know about him. He was very skilled and smart and bested a giant with his brains.” Ummm…no, that isn’t right at all. This story is about God, and His hands of protection for those that walk with Him, and David’s heart of complete devotion and trust in the Lord, which is a different focal point entirely.”
I am guilty of doing this myself at times, maybe not so dramatically extracting God from a story of which He is the center, but of minimizing His involvement, and forgetting to stop and thank Him for His guidance and gifts. I am most keenly aware of this danger as I talk with my kids. Some older friends of ours recently shared about how they made it a point to help their (now grown up) kids recognize along with them how truly central God is to virtually every story and circumstance around them. That does not mean that God is necessarily in control of and initiating everything that happens, but He is certainly WITH US in everything and He is constantly working good in all, even in the poor choices and pain. I am grateful for that. So grateful. Lord, help me to never extract You from the center of my story, the stories of my neighbors and our families’ story from which You are always so undeniably involved.