i recently finished reading A Tale of Three Kings by Gene Edwards (click here for more info on the book). it's not too often that you find a book that truly hits you in the gut and will not let you put it down. for me, this is the first book that has done so in a very long time. the book is described as "light, clarity and comfort to the brokenhearted. many christians have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other believers. to those believers, this compelling story offers comfort, healing, and hope."
this story is based on the biblical figures of david, saul and absalom, and discusses the leadership characteristics of each of them. edwards starts off with how God called david to royalty... and how saul felt threatened by God's divine calling on david's life. because of saul's persistent attacks on david... God was able to instill in david the brokenness he wanted him to have. edwards writes, "God has several types of people. he has people who claim to have God's authority... and don't - people who claim to be broken... and aren't. and people who do have God's authority, but who are mad and unbroken. all of these he has in abundance, but broken men and women, hardly at all. saul was God's chosen way to crush david."
edwards writes "david the sheepherder would have grown up to become king saul II, except that God cut away the saul inside david's heart. and the tools that God used to remove david's inner saul... was the outer saul." and at the end of the operation god performed on david, david was barely recognizable. God had crushed everything out of him. by earthly measures david would have been considered a shattered man, but by heaven's measures, he was a broken one. we must all be broken to ourselves before we can truly become who god calls us to be. we must allow him to chisel away the mess of who we are to break through to the parts of us that are mailable to God. "the truth was that when others saw David, they didn't recognize him. he had changed. his personality, his disposition, his total being had been altered. he talked less. he loved God more."
edwards points out the kind of man that saul was. many forget that he was anointed by God. the deliverer of israel. and yet he's remembered mostly for his madness. while there has been a lot of bad press on him, he was one of the greatest figures of human history. he was "everything people today are seeking to be... empowered with the Holy Spirit... able to do the impossible.. for God. a leader, chosen by God wtih power from God. he was also eaten with jealousy, filled with self-importance, and willing to live in spiritual darkness." when looking at saul's life one must ask, "what does this world need: gifted men and women, outwardly empowered? or individuals who are broken, inwardly transformed?"
while god used saul to shape and break david... he also used absalom to reveal the character that made david who he was. for those of you who are not familiar with absalom, he was david's son. a son who rebelled against his father... that rebellion had been in his heart for years... just as god foretold to david (2 samuel 12).
i feel that i have given you a poor representation of this book. while it looks at the lives of these three men, it does so much more than just tell a story. it brings truth to the relevance of brokenness. i don't know where your heart is. God does. i don't know what you've been through. God does. i do know that as i look at what God has done in my life, i see the situations and people that God has used to break me, to draw me closer to Him, and to beat the "stephanie" out of me to transform me into who He is calling me to be.
this book addresses brokenness... specifically brokenness that is brought on by other people (maybe other Christians) and how God uses it to mold us. i have been hurt. i have cried because of situations that have happened between myself and a friend. i have felt like giving up on people. i have felt like giving up on myself. but God has taken the brokenness and turned it into something beautiful. He's used it to shower me with His love. He has blessed me and brought me through it by putting new people in my life who He has used to continually point me back to Him.
i do not recommend books often, but this one i truly say is a MUST READ. it's a sweet story of true life and love and how God mends brokenness through His grace and power. pick it up and let me know what you think. if you can't afford your own copy. i'll buy it for you.