One the Bible's great mysteries is Solomon's downfall. God gave him wisdom - more wisdom than anyone who'd ever walked the earth, before or since. And Solomon walked away from God.
I know that's a gross oversimplification. After all, he lived a life between being granted that gift and the end of his days. As the king of a powerful nation, I'm confident that his life must have been full of more stress and trial than I'll ever imagine.
Still, I wonder. What was the problem? He had money, prestige, and power. And he used it to obtain lands, wives, wealth, and, ultimately, other beliefs.
He had an amazing father. King David was no spiritual slouch. He was exuberant for the Lord. His praise was lively. His repentance was deep. His reliance on God was exemplary. And the more I think about it, the more I wonder if this was part of Solomon's problem.
My husband's faith is exuberant, lively, deep, exemplary. He makes no bones about loving his Lord. Most of the time it's beautiful and outstanding and worthy of emulation. It can also be perplexing, dismaying, and even embarrassing. I'm sure some in David's day found him the same, though I'm certain that few had the platform to say so. Naturally, the Bible would not report such near-blasphemous thoughts.
If David were alive today, would he sit in his car, in his own driveway, blasting the worship music and weeping? Would he jump and kick before the podium while strumming his lyre? Would his amplified voice crack with emotion as he pronounces words of redemption? Would he shake hands with strangers and look deeply into their souls as he shares his savior with them? Would others' discomfort in these situations even admit itself to his perception?
Men of great passion are hard to live with on a daily basis, particularly for the cerebral. Those of us who are also spiritual face an internal dissonance. The man of passion lives all the external ideals of the faith. To disdain his passion is to seem to disdain his faith, as well. The dissonance must be even greater for an adult child than it is for a wife.
There are few choices in such a situation. To embrace the passion is to slap one's own intellect in the face. Living alongside it, without participating, causes the dissonance to crescendo to an unavoidable din. Outright rejection, the option that perhaps Solomon eventually chose, is unacceptable, at least to the faithful.
There is another option, one that doesn't particularly appeal to me as an all-or-nothing kind of person. And that is to step in slowly, toe first, as if timidly entering a pool. A sprinkle baptism of sorts, if you will, with the intention of becoming a dunk...eventually. The hard part is that it must be intentional. Rather than waiting for the Holy Spirit to come and shove me into the tank, I've got to bare my own sole and begin the ponderous plunge myself.
If I maintain my gradual immersion, perhaps my kids, who are guided by my actions far more than by my words, will find their balance better than Solomon did.
Some of my earlier thoughts on Solomon.