I pray this finds you well.
If you are anything like me, you may feel like this year has been stolen from you. The hope, plans, and dreams you started the year with most likely have been put on hold or squelched. As we finish this Thanksgiving weekend, it was probably not what we pictured pre-pandemic, definitely not Norman Rockwell-ish.
Frustrating. Discouraging. Debilitating. Bitter. These are some of the feelings you may be feeling because of your situation.
Do NOT give up. There is hope in God.
In 1 Samuel 30 we read where David was at a very low point.
1 Samuel 30:3-6
When David and his men reached Ziklag, they found it destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. 4 So David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep. 5 David's two wives had been captured—Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail, the widow of Nabal of Carmel. 6 David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the LORD his God.
Ziklag means “winding road.” Life is like that. You think you have things all straightened out, all your ducks in a proverbial row, with nothing but smooth sailing ahead—until you come to a curve you weren’t counting on, a pothole you didn’t see. David finds a curve he wasn’t counting on. He and his boys make it back to Ziklag to reunite with their families only to discover that the Amalekites had invaded the town, burned down their homes, and carried their families away. It was a brutal, devastating, heartbreaking situation.
David was greatly distressed; the people talked of stoning him, because the souls of all the people were grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters…
Not only did David lose his house and his family, but his own men turned against him, ready to stone him. No doubt, they felt that David had dropped the ball and let them down. Already grieving over his own loss, yet seeing rocks in the hands of his men, he had reason to be distressed. I’m sure you have reasons as well…
Maybe you are tired.
Maybe you were furloughed.
Maybe your household is under attack.
Maybe your spouse has drifted away.
Maybe your kids have been carried away by the enemy.
Maybe you are trying to get through one more day.
Maybe _______________ (you fill in the blank.)
This is a story for you, because I want you to see what David did to eventually recover all that he had lost…
1 Samuel 30:6 (b)… but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God.
David encouraged himself in the Lord. This is where it starts. This is what we must do to get back all that’s been ripped off by the enemy. David couldn’t depend on his men. They were angry with him. There was no one to pat him on the back and say, “It’ll be okay.” There was no one to wipe away his tears. But that’s the way it usually is. Don’t wait for a pastor to come, a friend to show up, a neighbor to drop by when you’re depressed. If you do, you might have a long wait. David knew what he had to do. Everything looked grim. But he chose to encourage himself in the Lord.
We see the answer in Psalm 42…
Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance. Psalm 42:5
We can be depressed, discouraged, despairing, continually—or, I can say, “Why are you this way, soul? Hope in God. Give praise to Him. Offer thanks to Him.”
When I face things that have been stolen or go down that winding road of life, the first thing I must do is encourage myself in the Lord by thanking Him for the ways He has been so faithful time and time again. I reflect and remember—and begin to talk to the Lord audibly, giving Him thanks for what He has done.
Remember the Captain of our salvation (Hebrews 2:10) relates to whatever trials and difficulties we face, because He was tested in the very same areas (Hebrews 4:15). He knows what you’re going through. He knows why you feel the way you do because He, too, has felt the heat of the attack of the enemy.
Take the example of David and
… encourage yourself in the Lord.
… inquire of the Lord.
… engage with the Lord.
… be inspired by the Lord.
Praying for you Church,