As many of us know, life is full of ups and downs. We all experience those hopeless moments, and if you’re like me, you can always use some extra strength to make it through. David’s story is very relatable because it is full of moments of great strength and weakness. But most importantly, there is a lot to learn in how he reacts in moments of loss and hopelessness.
And when David and his men came to the city, they found it burned with fire, and their wives and sons and daughters taken captive. Then David and the people who were with him raised their voices and wept until they had no more strength to weep. David’s two wives also had been taken captive, Ahinoam of Jezreel and Abigail the widow of Nabal of Carmel. And David was greatly distressed, for the people spoke of stoning him, because all the people were bitter in soul, each for his sons and daughters…” (1 Samuel 30:3-6).
David and his men were told that they cannot fight alongside the Philistines, and they had to make a three day trek back to their hometown called Ziklag. They come home only to find it burnt to the ground and missing all of its people. David’s wives and all of the soldier’s families were captured by the Amalekites and the soldiers start to blame David for the incident and plan on stoning him to death.
So we might say David is in a pretty low spot. He’s at war, he lost his city, wives, community, and now his own soldiers place the blame on him and plan to kill him. It seems as if all hope is lost, but David reacts to these circumstances in an interesting way.
“…But David strengthened himself in the Lord his God.”
Sometimes when we read these stories, it’s easy to assume that the reason why the characters prevail and gain strength is because they are “holy Bible people” and have the power to overcome all hardships always available to them. Though they may be holy, they are indeed human beings that go through ups and downs, just like us.
So how does David strengthen himself?
David can have hope in extremely hopeless situations, and that is something to admire. He had been working on strengthening himself fo ra good portion of his life. David doesn’t just snap his fingers and gain all the strength and hope he needs. Working closely with God in his prayer life, having discussions with his friend (Jonathan), and learning from others is what brought him to the point where he could be strong enough to endure the trials to come.
We learn from David that true strength is gained over time. Time spent in prayer, time spent learning from others, and time spent acknowledging who we are in the sight of God. The more practiced we are in attuning ourselves to the will of God, the more trust we will have for what seems at times to be a hopeless future.