Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and his officers are camping in the open fields.
How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife?
I swear that I will never be guilty of acting like that.”
2 Samuel 11:11
My husband is a middle school teacher. One of his primary objectives is to create a learning environment so engaging that the students themselves actually morph into “teachers” because they understand and enjoy the content so much. He instills in his students a love for community and interdependence so deep that the students themselves will insist, with conviction, that not one of them will be left behind. This model is the living, breathing definition of coalescence.
Coalesce: [verb] 1) to grow together or into one body 2) to unite so as to form one mass, community, etc. 3) to blend or come together
Seeing 54 individuals come together to create, learn and grow as one body shifts some pretty major perspectives I had been holding onto. (The kicker is that most these particular individuals aren’t even old enough to babysit!) It made me wonder what kinds of relationships in my life hold that level of integrity. What would have to happen for EVERY relationship in my life to have unshakeable coalescence?
I found my inspiration in the account of an unsung hero of David’s time. His name is Uriah – the husband of Bathsheba.
Uriah was away at war, fighting for King David and Israel, when David fell for Bathsheba. Once David found out he had gotten Bathsheba pregnant, his brain jumped directly into self-preservation mode. He summoned Uriah to come give him a report on the progress of the war. He then told Uriah to “go on home and relax,” hoping that Uriah would seize the opportunity to go home and spend some quality time with his wife and David’s mistake would never be known. However, things didn’t quite unfold that way.
But Uriah wouldn’t go home. He stayed that night at the palace entrance with some of the king’s other servants. When David heard what Uriah had done, he summoned him and asked, “What’s the matter with you? Why didn’t you go home last night after being away for so long?” Uriah replied, “The Ark and the armies of Israel and Judah are living in tents, and Joab and his officers are camping in the open fields. How could I go home to wine and dine and sleep with my wife? I swear I will never be guilty of acting like that.” (2 Samuel 11:9-11)
Uriah was so bound by loyalty to his brothers in combat, that he wouldn’t even allow himself to enjoy his wife for one evening. The painful reality – that he was safe while the Ark of God and his fellow warriors were not – kept him from leaving the palace grounds. I imagine he wanted to be alert and ready any moment that he might be sent back. I also picture him wanting to honor the struggle of those still at war by withholding rest and pleasure as his peers were at that very moment. His choices reveal his heart and the depth of the unity he held with his community even when they were apart.
What if I, as a child of God, lived with that level of community awareness? What if my heart broke for the plight of the orphans and the widows just as much as it does for my own children’s struggles? What would happen in the world around me if I took on other’s burdens in prayer just as often as I worry about my own?
This life IS filled with conflict and warfare. My purpose in this life is not my own – I am here to be a servant and friend of God. As such, when someone in my “army” is deep in the heat of battle, my heart will feel the unrest of that struggle wherever I am. That is one of the most amazing things about being a part of a body that God calls His Church. When we move unified with him and each other, burdens are lighter, pain eases quicker and joy shared is tenfold!
Challenge: BE AWARE of the joy and sorrow of those around me. Take responsibility for my community in love by authentically caring for my brothers and sisters as Christ cares for me.
Dear Lord, awaken my heart to the cries of your people. Fill me with a desire to fuse together with those in my community even deeper. Let us all share in the weight of each other’s burdens as we move through this life together. Move in me the desire to reach beyond my biological family with the resources you have blessed me with. Amen.