Studying the Bible can sometimes be a little, well, discouraging. When we read the stories of the characters in its pages, we start to feel our own smallness. We read about a giant-killer like David, and we know that we aren't giant-killers. We read about the perseverance of Job, and we know that we would have given up long ago. We read about the wisdom of Solomon, and we forget why we walked from the living room to the kitchen. We read these stories about all these great men and women of faith, and we look in the mirror and just don't see it. We don't see how we could ever be like them.
But here's the truth about our so-called saints: they couldn't see it, either.
When David looked in the mirror, he didn't see "King David, great and mighty leader of Israel and composer of beautiful psalms." When Solomon looked in the mirror, he didn't see "Solomon, man of incredible wisdom." When John looked in the mirror, he didn't see "the disciple Jesus loved." These men and women saw the same thing in the mirror that we do - all of their insecurities and struggles and secret sins staring right back at them.
They never thought that God was writing down every detail of their stories and that thousands of years later, we'd still be reading them and wanting to be like them. In fact, if you told them that, the thought alone would probably horrify them, just as it horrifies many of us. Even the kings of Israel probably didn't think their stories were very consequential, that they mattered much at all except maybe to the persons who were living them most intimately. Who cares about David besides his thirty fighting men? Or maybe his three hundred?
What if the answer is...thousands of generations to come?
I think sometimes, we're glad we're not saints. I mean that. I think we're glad that others aren't reading our stories the same way they read the stories in the Bible. I think we're glad that God's not writing down every little detail of our lives and claiming they're going to be an encouragement one day to millions of His followers. I think we're glad we are living in the time of a closed canon - a period in which nothing is going to be added to the Bible; it takes some of the pressure off, doesn't it? When we look in the mirror and see ourselves staring back at us, we don't have to worry about being a David.
But what if we do?
What if, just like the thousands of insecure, sinful, scared, small men and women who came before us, what if we can't fathom the impact that our stories are going to have - the good and the bad of them? What if God is still writing down every little detail? What if two thousand years from now, someone is going to read about something you did and be encouraged by you? What if hundreds of generations from here, there's going to be someone looking in a mirror and thinking to themselves that they could never be who you were?
What if there's someone watching your life right now and thinking that?
We never know what impact our lives are having, now or in the future. We never know what God is doing with our stories or which details of them He's choosing to hold onto. We never know who is going to be encouraged by us...or when. We know so well our insecurities and struggles and sins and think that could never be us, but the truth is that none of God's saints thought it could be them. None of them. When we get to heaven and get to ask them, I imagine a lot of them are going to say, "Wait. You know about that?" Because it was just their life, and they were just living it, just doing the best that they could do with what they knew and understood and had at the time.
So should we. These are our lives, and we have to stop judging them and trying to figure out what they are. They're a blessing, to us and to others. And no matter what you think when you look in the mirror, God is always doing something bigger than you can imagine. Something bigger than you might ever know. And whether you feel worthy of it or not, someone, somewhere, considers you their David. Yours is the life they think they'll never live up to.
And if that just completely blows your mind, perhaps you're more like the saints than you realize.