Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers. And the Spirit of the Lord rushed upon David from that day forward. – Prophet Samuel annointing David as King, I Samuel 16:13a
An unchosen path is how I think of going through the valley of adultery discovery and divorce. It was not a path I chose. However, I can start to see how God has used this path to refine me and craft me into the type of person He can release into the destiny He has for me.
David was anointed king many, many years before he actually claimed the throne. He spent much time running for his life from King Saul who God has rejected as king over his disobedience. I suspect these years in the wilderness were not wasted for King David. My suspicion is God used them to refine his heart and transform him into the type of leader–both political and spiritual–we still speak about today. I wonder if his son, King Solomon, might have avoided falling into temptation and ending his reign poorly if he, too, had spent years in the wilderness like his father before him.
I don’t know.
Suffering can teach us many things about the world and ourselves if we listen. It reveals our values and our priorities. It shows us the brokenness of this place we inhabit. And it reveals who can be trusted plus who cannot.
I discovered in my wilderness (thankfully not decades long like my namesake) my God who is ever faithful and worthy of trust even when He did not feel particularly present. My wilderness experience helped me to mature as a man and unlock a future full of pastoral ministry. It equipped me both to work as a professional chaplain and to write this blog. I see it as a period where God made me one of his His priests forged like steel through the fire of pain and mystery.
I cannot tell you what God is teaching you in your current experience. And I do not claim to know what works He is preparing you to do. It may be too painful in the moment to see any good coming from such evil. (And it is still evil, even if God can bring some redemptive good out of it.) It may take years or even decades before the lessons or redemptive good becomes clear. But remember that David did not realize his God-appointed destiny for many years. And he suffered in the wilderness for much of that delay. God did not waste those years, and I am convinced by my own experience that God will not waste your time of suffering either.
You only have to listen and hold on to a little faith.