Years ago, I did a study on the life of David. Friends, I was an indignant mess. For whatever reason, studying David made me flat-out angry.

Because, in my struggling towards holiness 20-something heart and mind, honestly? If David, “a man after God’s own heart”, was such a complete mess with continual missteps, there was no hope for a normal flaw-ridden girl like me. None. I was destined to never quite make it. I remember the looks of discomfort and horror on the other women’s faces when I railed against David and shared my disappointment in God’s chosen King. (Looking back, these dear women were so kind and patient with me and my outspoken feedback on how David could have stepped it up a notch and actually lived up to his press.)

BathshebaI’d mostly forgotten about those angst-filled, dark 12 weeks of the soul until I picked up Bathsheba last fall. I love Biblical fiction, and Angela Hunt’s books are so well researched and rich with historical detail that I’m lost in their pages. I am not sure if I’ve mellowed with age and experience, but somehow, as I read Bathsheba, I was grateful for this treatment of the man I’d thought was God’s “golden child”, and the woman he loved. He was real. He was emotional. He was driven and a failure and a success and proud and humble and, essentially, human. And he was used by God. I saw mercy and grace and awful pain.

Bathsheba, she who has been demonized for being a temptress and that ever-so-seductive bath? (Come on, THIS is what we remember the mother of Solomon for?) She became real. She became a friend. My heart broke at her story of loss, victimization and loneliness. I was disappointed in David, and encouraged by his repentance, although it never did atone for the hurt he’d caused. I grew fond of David and Bathsheba, as they grew older and lived the difficult life of ruling an unruly people. I loved Solomon, and was driven back to scripture to see if his brothers had really been that bad. (They were. For the love, these boys were miserable.)

And while this was a work of fiction, it made me stop and realize in a new way that my view is clouded by assumption. I’ve got ideas of what people should be like, look like, act like. Of what the perfect redemption story looks like. I can pin hopes on the possibility of being good enough. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what a woman after God’s own heart should look like.

Here’s the thing: it looks a lot less like a well-curated perfect life, and a lot more like the woman I see in the mirror. A woman who has made some terribly bad choices. Who has caused hurt and pain. Who is gifted. Who struggles with doubt. Who is called by God, loved, chosen and redeemed. Who stumbles again and again. Who has been blessed beyond imagination. Who wishes she could cover up some of the uglier parts of her story. Who is amazed at the glorious parts of her story. Who, in many ways is just like David and Bathsheba.

Instead of being angry at David, the story has been redeemed for me in many ways. God chooses people just like me, and has since the beginning of time. People who are in process and in need of a Saviour. Biblical fiction is just that – fiction. But it has brought to life those who can be one-dimensional as I read through the pages of my Bible. I’m grateful for this fresh perspective and compassion for those I’d previously disregarded or cast aside in confusion, and glad for this encouragement: I can see myself on those pages, and I’m loved and known, even the parts of my story I’d rather keep hidden.

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