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when all seems lost

Friday, May 30, 2014

How do we react towards God when things get tough? When all seems lost. When everything is taken from us?

It's easy - in our culture especially - to compare ourselves to others. To wonder why we don't have A, B, and C. To get down and start a negative spiral of thoughts about how we will never achieve X, we will never get Y, we will never amount to Z.

In 1 Samuel chapter 30, David and his army returned from battle to find everything "destroyed by fire and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive" (vs. 3).

They lost everything. Or so it seemed.

Verse 4 goes on to say, "So David and his men wept aloud until the had no strength left to weep."
"Each one was bitter in spirit because of his sons and daughters. But David found strength in the Lord his God" (verse 6).
Funny, I was trying to find a photo that was dark and dreary to contrast this one. But I couldn't find one.

When we face trails, when we experience loss of someone or something, when we feel the pangs of devastation and grief so deeply in our souls, it's okay to cry, it's okay to mourn, it's okay to grieve.

But then we are called to get up and ask God what we should do, where we should go, how we should proceed.

When all seems lose, we are left with 2 choices:
1. be bitter about it
2. or find strength in the Lord

What does strength look like?

David prayed and asked the Lord if he should "pursue the raiding party." He asked, "Will I overtake them?" The Lord replied, "Pursue them, you will certainly overtake and succeed in the rescue." (vs. 8) Notice the Lord didn't explicitly guarantee any details - that there would be not one loss or one person not rescued. He merely told David that he would succeed and for David, that was enough.

And lo and behold, God was faithful.

"David recovered everything the Amalekites had taken, including his two wives. Nothing was missing; young or old, boy or girl, plunder or anything else they had taken. David brought everything back."
And the reason I couldn't find a dreary photo with which to contrast these is that I choose to capture the bright not the dark, the hopeful not the dreary. Thus is the metaphor for what God wants us to choose in our lives, in Him.
So what does strength look like? Strength looks like: asking the Lord for guidance, trusting the direction in which He is telling you to go or the action he is telling you to take, and obeying by acting immediately and acting boldly.

It can be a scary thing to trust God. It can be a scary thing to surrender control of your life. We aren't guaranteed the Lord will return what we have lost or give us everything for which we ask like this case with David and his men. But we are guaranteed that He will give us the strength to move forward in the direction in which He is leading.
"The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
The Lord is with me; he is my helper.
I will look in triumph on my enemies."

- Psalm 118: 6-7
The Lord will be our protector, our helper, our strength. If we allow Him to.

It's our choice.

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