Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Getting Through the Mess

“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.“ (1 Samuel 30:6 NIV)

Circumstances can change so quickly. David and his men came to Ziklag, their home town, and found that a raiding party had taken their families, carried off their property and burned their town. David was, literally, in a tight place. Even his loyal followers had turned against him and were talking of stoning him. They were grieving, frustrated, and bitter.

Sometimes life hands us difficulties we can’t understand or explain. We have each faced the distress that comes when we get in a tight spot. It is alarming to find ourselves in situations that lay outside our control.

The parable is told of an old dog that fell into a farmer’s well. After assessing the situation, the farmer sympathized with the dog but decided that neither the dog nor the well were worth the trouble of saving. Instead, he planned to bury the old dog in the well and put him out of his misery. When the farmer began shoveling, initially the old dog was hysterical. But as the farmer continued shoveling and the dirt hit his back, a thought struck him. It dawned on him that every time a shovel load of dirt landed on his back he should shake it off and step up. This he did blow after blow. “Shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up, shake it off and step up!” he repeated to encourage himself. Eventually, the farmer filled the well and the dog stepped out of it onto firm ground.

That is the key to any crisis. It’s not what is happening but how we respond to it. What seemed as though it would bury him actually benefitted the old dog—all because of the way he handled adversity.

David’s situation was both precarious and painful. He, too, had lost his family. Now he had seemed to lose the support of his friends. David demonstrated how we can successfully handle those situations. He “found strength in the Lord his God.”

The story ended with David and his men pursuing the raiders and recovering their families and their property. There is a moment in any crisis, though, when the happy ending is not in sight. That's when it is important to turn to the Lord. When we strengthen ourselves in the Lord He can lead us out of our narrow places to eventual victory.

Later, when David reflected on God’s hand in his life, he wrote a psalm that expressed his confidence in God.

“I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.” (2 Samuel 22:4 NIV)

No matter how the enemy attacked him, David learned that turning to God was his key to victory. It’s our key as well.

God doesn't want us to let our circumstances drive us. He is our Hope and our Deliverer. When pressure comes we can find our strength in the Lord. He is our source of strength, even when life seems to be against us. We can trust Him in the face of uncertainty because He always has our best interest at heart.

Copyright © Wally Odum, used with permission.

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