No 1. A new series on the blog.
First, I want to welcome you to a new series I’ve started called Finding Davin. I’m glad you’re here, and I want to take a few moments to explain just what it is you’ll find as you follow, which I hope is an encouragement and a challenge to you wherever you are in your own life. I’ve been writing about Davin for a few months now, but this series is my first attempt at systematically working out a biography of the man who went before us—it is my road to finding my friend.
On April 29, 2012, Davin Henrickson died of cancer at the age of 33, leaving behind his bride, Lauren, and scores of people whose lives he has deeply impacted through his God-ordained path of suffering. I am one of those people.
I knew Davin relatively briefly compared to others, as we were members at the same church in Kentucky for a little over a year and taught a Sunday school class together, but the impact his story has had upon my life is tremendous. The Lord placed a particular burden about him on me, and since his departure from this earth I have had a sincere desire to share his tale with others—with you.
Through tears and weeping and brokenhearted grief in the days following his death, one verse from Scripture was emblazoned upon my heart as I stared at my copy of The Brothers Karamazov on the nightstand:
“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” John 12:24
Davin is the wheat that fell, through his death bringing life to those around him—one of God’s strange ironies for the wheat farmer’s son from Idaho. In the months following his death, though, I have realized perhaps more intimately that he was the wheat that fell on me. The Lord has used the story of Davin to change me. To sober me. And ultimately, to see the glory of Jesus as I stare into the painting of the brushstrokes of suffering in Davin’s life and character.
This is my journey, the path I’ve been sent down to find Davin through the eyes and experiences of those who knew him best. It is a journey both personal and deep, felt and touched firsthand. What I want to share with you is a man who lived and died in pursuit of honoring Jesus, in such a way that you experience God’s mercy and beauty in your own life. It’s less like staring at a painting than it is being invited into the painting, to be a part of the glory of God’s artistry.
So I’m trying to share with you who Davin was, through my eyes and personal pursuit of him, in a way that points you to Jesus. It’s not ultimately about me or Davin, as he himself would have insisted. It’s about Christ and the tapestry of his own grace that he weaved into Davin’s story. My prayer is that you too would be woven into the same story of God’s mercy as you enter in, as you watch, as you follow.
My plan, Lord willing, is that this journey will yield a biography of Davin’s life, a gospel of Jesus Christ in the life of one quiet, humility-pursuing, faithful man. Usually we read biographies of men who have accomplished great things in the eyes of the world—the Churchills and Lincolns and Steve Jobs of life. But Davin didn’t accomplish any of those things. He was, rather, simply faithful to what God appointed for him.
Like his Lord, he died a young 30-something man in relative obscurity, with little accomplished while he was still alive. His life is a beacon and a call for us, then, to humbly serve the Lord wherever he places and appoints us. You may work on automobiles, file claims at an insurance company, hang roofs on people’s houses, or be a wheat farmer from Idaho, but hear this from Davin himself—your life is truly great in God’s eyes when you humbly serve him, with a glad heart, wherever he has called you.
I invite you now to come along for the journey, that you may find Davin with me, and in so doing find the path of our suffering Lord, the narrow lane upon which is found both death and eternal life. It is the path of exquisite pain and everlasting joy. I bid you, come.
And now come, broken, to the cross
Where Christ embraced all human loss,
And let us bow before the throne
Of God, who gives and takes his own,
And promises, whatever toll
He takes, to satisfy our soul.
Come, learn the lesson of the rod:
The treasure that we have in God.
He is not poor nor much enticed
Who loses everything but Christ (The Misery of Job and the Mercy of God, John Piper, 26).