I hail from Ohio, commonly referred to as the Buckeye State where folks “bleed scarlet and gray.” This reference comes from its inhabitants who are fiercely loyal to their Ohio State Buckeyes. In fact, I recently saw an online statistic claiming Ohio has the most loyal home state fans in all of the USA. Seriously, someone actually took the time to do a study which showed that, when it comes to college sports fans, every county in Ohio is dominated by Buckeye devotees.
In the wave of such astounding facts, I hesitate to admit that no one in my household follows OSU sports. While game days are set aside to be observed with grand fervor across Ohio, I couldn’t name one Buckeye player or coach, but I could come up with an endless list of loyal fans among my peers.
I live among people who “bleed scarlet and gray” no matter the final score of wins or losses or championships or not.
So when I read the following words in Jennie Allen’s book Anything, there was something that struck a chord. In reference to King David, she concluded:
He made so many terrible mistakes, and yet he bled God.
As I’ve pondered and mulled this statement like spiced cider in the recesses of my mind, I can’t help but find a longing to understand it more. To experience a walk with God that is so close, so intimate, that when I’m cut I bleed His lifeblood.
The more I thought about the life of David, with all his recorded strengths and weaknesses, the more I wanted to understand a heart labeled as one after God’s own. He made so many terrible mistakes, and yet he bled God. David’s heart was steadfast in seeking after the One who anointed him, even when his actions seemed contrary to his calling.
When David was overwhelmed by the enormity of his errors and their devastating consequences, God still managed to squeeze through the pores and crevices of his humanity. Coaxing him to return with a repentant heart, opening that heart to receive the healing balm of forgiveness.
Such is the work of God’s amazing grace.
We could easily label David many things, all of which would seem obviously true. Murderer. Disloyal. Lustful. Adulterer. Dishonorable. Prideful. Weak. Yet God called him a man after His own heart. A man filled with the Spirit of the living God, anointed to do His will (see Acts13:22).
Who but our heavenly Father could allow such horror to exist alongside the beauty without soaking in the marring of sin’s madness? Wounded to heal, David bled God and sought Him through each painful step of life. From shepherd boy turned refugee king, to ruling monarch. From the peak of grace and kindness extended to his enemy Saul, to the lowest depths of adultery and murder committed against one of his most devoted warriors. Yet God’s Spirit faithfully remained with David in each and every injustice – those both received and inflicted. From without and within.
In the story of this one life, we experience pinnacles of seemingly endless mercy diving into the depths of utter depravity. Yet God bleeds through it all. And therein lies hope for one such as I. A hope which tempts me to reach with blind faith, daring to believe God could bleed through me no matter how near or far I may seem from Him at any given moment.
The truth is, I have the royal blood of Calvary’s cross flowing steadily through my veins, despite the many times a transfusion seems necessary.
When the sin and the hurt cut to the quick, I have opportunity to receive healing. A healing that comes as His blood courses within, continually pumping life and love and forgiveness and redemption.
The full circle of a grace that is infinite yet complete.
From moments of prideful sin to humble contrition, I am held as David – simultaneously a seeker of self and seeker of the King of kings. Determined to hold onto my Father through both my wins and my losses as I bleed out the hope of His Son and bare the scars of nail-pierced hands to the depths of all I am.
I doubt I’ll ever turn into an avid college sports follower, so I’ll leave the bleeding of scarlet and gray to the diehard Buckeye fans.
But with everything in me, I’ll follow after Jesus and pray for a grace that bleeds God.