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He can...He will

How do you deal with hard times? 1 Samuel 30 entails the story of David who after battle, came home to find ruin. Not only had he lost his physical possessions but, his wives and children were nowhere to be found.

The chapter starts off by telling us that he was returning from the Philistine camp where he had suffered a shameful exit. While running away from King Saul, he found himself seeking refuge from those who were meant to be his enemies - the Philistines. David was known as a mighty man of war. He was adept when it came to war strategies and for this reason, he was about to join Achish in battle when the Lords of Philistine requested he leave their camp. With wounded pride, he returns home back to Ziklag physically and emotionally exhausted only to find the worst case scenario had unfolded.

1 Samuel 30:1-3 says, "And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives."

Can you for a second imagine what this might have felt like? I have never experienced something similar to this but I can sympathize with the man. I am sure he was of the idea that his wives would shower him with adoration and nurse his wounded ego. He was also probably looking forward to a home cooked meal and the familiarity of home only to find ruin in its place. The Amalekites had destroyed their home and done the unknown to their wives and children. Verse 4 narrates their devastation it says, "Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep."

I know this kind of crying all too well. Unlike David, I was not weeping because my village had been burned down, I was weeping for other reasons. Many of us have wept like this before. The genesis of our cries could be when that family member passed on unexpectedly, when the miracle baby succumbed to a miscarriage. When we lost the job, when we failed the exam and pretty much anything else that is of tragic nature. Loss comes in different forms and one of the ways we grieve loss is by weeping.

The bible then proceeds to tell us that because of their frustration, David's soldiers wanted to stone him. Can you fathom the rage? Mob mentality is actually very dangerous. I have seen the worst happen when an angry mob unites.1 Sam 30:6 says, "And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the LORD his God." Talk about projection. I am sure the men felt that if they had been home protecting their own, the fate of their wives and children would have been different. In retrospect, I have done the same, in moments of anger and frustration I have directed my feelings at the wrong subject and in turn it has left me feeling worse. These men angered by their circumstances wanted to kill their leader.

David however, being a man after God's own heart encouraged himself in the LORD. You may ask yourself what does this mean? As a believer, I have found it greatly useful in times of distress to shift my focus away from my circumstances and onto a sure factor. By doing this I find courage not because of my efforts or because my circumstances have changed, rather it is because of what/who I choose to focus on. That is what it means to encourage yourself in the Lord. It means to shift your focus onto God and not the hell that is breaking loose around you. By doing so, you are encouraged by who He is in respect to what is going on around you.

David knew this and therefore, summoned the High Priest and inquired of the Lord if to pursue and whether he would succeed in this pursuit. The Lord answered him and said, "And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all" 30:8. We then see David and his men setting off in pursuit after the Amalekites. The questions I had were - how did they know which way to go? Who were they after? Nevertheless, they soldiered on the only assurance they had was God and His promise that they would recover all.

Well, we see God's providence in verse 11-15 . It says,

"And they found an Egyptian in the field, and brought him to David, and gave him bread, and he did eat; and they made him drink water; And they gave him a piece of a cake of figs, and two clusters of raisins: and when he had eaten, his spirit came again to him: for he had eaten no bread, nor drunk any water, three days and three nights.

And David said unto him, To whom belongest thou? and whence art thou? And he said, I am a young man of Egypt, servant to an Amalekite; and my master left me, because three days ago I fell sick. We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.

And David said to him, Canst thou bring me down to this company? " And he said, Swear unto me by God, that thou wilt neither kill me, nor deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring thee down to this company"

The work of faith is that simple. David knew nothing about his enemy. He had no assurance that his wives and children were alive. But his single choice to lean on God through this tragedy yielded marvelous results. What are the chances that they met this Egyptian slave? Furthermore, how was he able to extend kindness to a stranger when his world had literally burned down?

In every circumstance, even when things seem 'impossible' God represents the word 'possible' in it. Your circumstances might be overwhelming but Jehovah Nissi can be your peace. I will finalize this piece with a personal story.

When I was in nursing school, we were required to complete clinical rotations for each core subject. Each student was assigned their respective day to report to the hospital at the discretion of the Dean. To my surprise, I was assigned a day that was in conflict with my faith. After a long and odious conversation with my dean she gave me an ultimatum. It was either I proceeded with the assigned day or I sat out the term. I was at my wits end because it seemed impossible. My final attempt included a prayer reminding God he had brought me this far and it made no sense why I would have to sit out an entire term. The following day, my professor called me aside and assured me that the dean had made her aware of my situation. She then proceeded to assure me that she would do everything in her power to ensure that I would get assigned to a different day.

I have no control over many of the events that take place in my life. It is hard to change the hearts of men. I however, remain persuaded that the One I have placed my trust in is all knowing and like David no matter the situation, He can and He will. The chapter finalizes with victory for David and his men. His choice to turn to God when faced with tragedy led him to a great recompense. So my encouragement to you dear reader, turn back to God. He can temper the storm surrounding you, He will save you, He will recompense what has been lost.



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