Part One: Lead Me
Somewhere about 1020 BC, David, the anointed king of Israel, was being chased and persecuted by the sitting king of Israel, King Saul. While he fled from Saul and from the armies of Israel, David and some four hundred men of Israel, men who had joined themselves to him, fought the enemies of Israel and defended the Southern cities and villages of Israel from marauding Bedouins.
There was a day when after three days of riding they reached Ziklag, their home, and found it burning. Their families, “their wives, and their sons, and their daughters had been taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him lifted up their voices and wept, until they had no more power to weep.” (1 Samuel 30:3-4)
At this dark hour, after years of a hard life, running from Saul and battling the enemies of Israel, in that terrible grief, in the sight of the horrifying loss, the men who were with David counseled together to stone him. At this most desperate hour is when David truly shown forth as a leader of God’s people. The Bible tells us that he encouraged himself in the Lord and sought His guidance in prayer! (1 Samuel 30:6)
We all have those times when the road seems so painfully long, when we feel at the end of our own strength, when it seems that everything is stacked against us, in that desperate hour we need to take David’s example…
As a young boy Bevington was sickly and his family sent him to live with an uncle who lived in Indiana. After a year of recuperation he was strong enough to run off and leave his uncle’s home (which he admits was as mistake). This wasn’t a well-planned trip. He had saved up a miserly $1.25 as payment for washing sheep for a rancher. It was Christmas morning with deep snow. Bevington had shoes, shirt and a few possessions tied up in a scarf, and of course $1.25. His goal was to travel from Indiana and to Michigan where he hoped to find an old friend of his uncle’s, and there hoping to get a job.
The first leg of the journey was somewhat uneventful. He walked through the snow and the cold for a day and a night until he reached a town where he boarded a train that carried him to Elkart, Indiana. Once in Elkart he checked his money and determined that he had 45¢ left. He was starving so he purchased a piece of bologna and cheese. He must have stood out because a man was drawn to the boy and took him home.
Bevington was a shy country boy not at all worldly and he was mortified at the attention. After a hot meal he went outside and chopped wood and carried water. At dinner he met a young girl about his age who smothered him with kindness and kisses. She was able to pump him for information about himself.
The next day he again went out and chopped wood and fetched water. On this day the couple offered him an opportunity. They explain that their little Mary had a twin brother who had died just the year earlier. If his parents would allow it they would be happy to adopt him. They promised to educate him and at their death their possessions would be divided between him and Mary. Bevington learned that the man earned his money as a Saloon owner.
Just before he was sent to Indiana, to his uncle’s house, his mother had called him to her side and she had made him promise her that he would never go into a Saloon. He readily agreed, not being able to imagine any excuse that would bring him into a Saloon. Well he had no idea as to what goes on in a Saloon but he retells the story of his mother’s instructions and insists that he has to get back on the road and make his way to Michigan.
The next morning a man had been hired to deliver him to Edwardsburg a town not far from where he was determined to go. The family gave him a heavy overcoat and some boots. The mother of the family gave him a basket of food and he was instructed to eat at the hotel in Michigan. It was in Michigan that he learned that the man who was driving him in the bobsleigh had actually been hired to deliver him. The man brought him into the hotel in town and told him to eat his lunch near the stove. When he opened the basket he found food and a five-dollar bill.
Bevington mentioned to the sleigh driver that a five-dollar bill had accidentally fallen into the lunch box. “No”, the man said, he personally had watched as Mary had taken the five dollars from her own money and had carefully placed it into the basket. At this Bevington broke down and cried. The love and kindness that they had showed him while he was with them had brought him to tears and this was another occasion of his tender heart.
When the man saw the tears he offered to take him back but Bevington insisted upon going on. He set off to look for the man who was his uncle’s old friend. He had taken the wrong road and late at night he came across an old man who asked him where he was going when he had explained where he was going the old man told him that he was almost 50 miles in the wrong distance.
So he made his way back, refusing the old mans offers of food and shelter. The next day was grey and overcast and Bevington was despondent. At one point he saw a tree by the side of the road and he decided to pray.
“I started in on ‘Now I lay me…’as that was the only prayer I had ever undertaken to say; and I being not quite fourteen years old, supposed that was all that was necessary. But I was under that tree nearly two hours. I believe that I offered the best prayer there that I ever offered, for I just got to really praying and got lost in prayer. I don’t know what all I prayed; but I well remember that as I progressed in this prayer that the clouds began to break, and it seemed that I was being lifted up on a plane to which I had been an entire stranger. But I remember saying, ‘O God, just lead me to a religious home where they pray as mother did, where they read the Bible and they pray as mother did.”
Well the next day found him starting out again to find the house he had determined to find back in Indiana. It was 4:30 am and no one was on the road as he headed out. As he was making his way a man rode up in sleigh and the man asked him where he was heading. The man convinced him to go home with him. The Man’s wife set out a huge amount of food and before they ate the man led out in a prayer of thanksgiving. After they ate the man pulled down a Bible from a book shelf and began reading it.
The man was a Methodist and Bevington grew up into being a Methodist minister and author of books on prayer! My dear friends, pray and pray again and pray always for there is a friend who will always listen and respond in love. When the way seems long and hard just remember you have a Father, a Father whose ear is always turned to you to catch every single utterance!