The Road to Greatness

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life. –Psalm 119:15

Dear members and friends of the Swedenborgian Church,

In the Bible, King David is definitely one of the biggest names. God calls him many time as my beloved servant, David! Indeed, he was the greatest king and the most faithful servant of God in the whole Old Testament. Yet, if you were to read closely, his life was filled with suffering and pain. One particular instance is in 1 Samuel 27, when he found himself trying desperately to convince a Philistine king, Achish of Gath, to stay in his kingdom to protect him. How much more humiliation you could face than David, the great warrior and general, having to beg for protection of his life to the king of his enemies?

King Saul, who recruited David and appointed him over his army, was very jealous of David for his battle victories against Philistine. King Saul was convinced that as long as David lived, his heirs would be denied the throne. Thus, King Saul decided to kill David and the threat he presented to his throne. David had two choices: to gather his supporters and fight back, or to run away and save his life. David felt that a civil war was not the will of God, so he chose to leave. There was no assurance by any prophet regarding the matter nor was there a dream or vision which assured David that he was indeed following the will of God. David simply perceived and believed that a civil war or King Saul’s death was not God’s will without knowing exactly what would happen next. Yet, one thing David might have been sure of was that following the will of his God as far as he knew and understood it was the best he could do in whatever situation he is was in.

These days, I read and hear many methods, programs, and trainings which assure people they can achieve greatness. Yet, according to the Bible and scriptures from other religions that I have studied, greatness is achieved not by going through an artificial process intentionally engineered to train a person to be great, but by going through a life journey in which one suffers a great deal of uncertainty, humiliation, and pain. In other words, true greatness is not engineered by a man-made system, but the natural result of enduring the transformative process of a life lived with integrity, faithfulness, and sympathy.

Blessings, Rev. Junchol Lee