First Samuel 30 tells of the incredibly sad day when David and his band of warriors returned to their home in Ziklag. They had been off on a military campaign and returned to find that the Amalekites had raided their town, burned everything and carried off their women and children into captivity. We can imagine the horrific grief that overcame David and his men: “David and his men wept aloud until they had no strength left to weep” (v.4). Then their grief turned to anger directed at David for leaving their hometown undefended. “David was greatly distressed because the men were talking of stoning him; each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters” (v.6a).
What does one do when one’s own personal grief is beyond describing? Add to that the heavy burden of the blame heaped on him by others. This could have been a crippling blow for David, but he had learned through the years that God could be trusted to give him strength in the darkest of hours. “But David found strength in the Lord his God” (v.6b).
What an important spiritual skill to develop! When we are pummeled by life’s adversity we can either completely collapse, or we can find a strength from beyond ourselves to rise up out of the ashes and do what needs to be done. David found that strength in the Lord.
A quick review of David’s life reveals that this was not the first time he had to drill deep and tap into the resources of God. He had developed the capacity to trust God as a shepherd boy, meditating upon the ministry of the Great Shepherd. He had deployed that spiritual power in his showdown with Goliath. Now it was an invisible giant that threatened to strike a fatal blow … distress.
I’ve discovered that strengthening ourselves in the Lord begins with reminding ourselves of the faithfulness of God in times past. It is a matter of reflecting upon God’s rich promises contained in His Word. It is a matter of relying on the very real presence of God in times of personal defeat and despair.
David was able to recover from his grief long enough to seek the counsel of God as to what he should do next. “David inquired of the Lord” (v.8). Observe that David knew better than to take a single step without hearing from God. Then the Lord released David to pursue his enemies and to rescue his loved ones, with the promise that he would succeed.
Life can deal us devastating blows that can knock the wind out of us and paralyze us for action. Remember that in our distress the Lord is just a prayer away. If you can rouse yourself to lift your eyes to heaven and whisper a prayer, the Lord’s strength is at hand.