David was misunderstood, falsely accused, and therefore on the run. He needed an army to protect him. So he cried out to God and his prayer was answered … sort of.
“All those who were desperate, in debt, or destitute rallied around him [David], and he became their leader. About 400 men,” scripture says. Four hundred misfits. Many Bible teachers point out that this motley group was eventually transformed into valiant, victorious warriors, citing that as some kind of miracle. OK. But perhaps there’s a greater message here for us ordinary folk.
Why is it that David’s followers consisted only of broken lives? The answer is simple: Because all lives are broken. The candidate pool didn’t include anything else.
It’s healthy to surround ourselves with people headed in the right general direction. It’s wise to avoid negative influences and stay close to souls who at least admit that there might be a bright side. After those bases are covered, however, a huge dose of grace must kick in.
Humans, all humans, are damaged goods. The best we can do is accept that about one another. Then dialogue together, listen, make allowances, try to understand. In due course, magic happens. A ray of light penetrates the darkness as wounded lives connect.
Desperation, debt, a destitute state. Those were universal traits among David’s companions. And that sounds pretty normal to me.