Tuesday, November 7, 2017

EmmDev 2017-11-07 [Lessons from 1 Samuel] In the eye of a perfect storm#2

In the eye of a perfect storm#2

6 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.        (1Samuel30:6)
We have seen the extent of the storm David was in. If we tally up the knocks that he has taken in what many would consider a "brutal war of attrition", with the final straw being his men turning on him, we would completely understand it if David simply cracked at this point.

But, at a point where he would have been physically and emotionally exhausted (If you've wept until there are no tears left you know what that's like) and where he must have been caught completely on the back foot, David doesn't crack, but finds strength in the Lord.

What does this look like? How does it work?
If we were making a movie we might see David standing the middle of the wrecked and burnt out village wild-eyed and ready to crack when he pauses and says "God help me" at which point a shaft of light shines down on him and inspirational music crescendos in the background. David's face becomes peaceful and he rouses his men with a "William Wallace speech."
But this is not a movie...

How does "finding strength in God" look in real life??
I'm not David, but I've faced some challenges and walked with others who are going through raging rivers.
I've learned that finding strength in God is not melodramatic and doesn't involve hours of prayer, church, or Bible reading.
"Finding strength in God" involves two things: reaching out for God and taking the next step.

Reaching out for God is an instinctive gut thing. "Lord I'm at the end of my tether. I don't understand what you are doing and this pain is beyond what I can bear. So I just know I need your help." It's not a prayer as much as it is simply handing over.

Taking the next step may mean getting up when you want to hide under your duvet. It may mean eating some food and going back to the books. It may mean grabbing a few hours of sleep and then going to care for your loved one. It may mean resting up and going slowly before your next round of chemo. It may mean just plodding on, but knowing you are not alone.

I watched a friend go through a series of heartbreaks. It threw him into a deep depression and, for a while, it looked like he might get stuck there. But, at his lowest ebb one afternoon, he put on some shoes and went for a walk. He told me that, as he walked, he prayed a very very eloquent prayer: "Please help me". He prayed that prayer over and over for the whole walk. The next day he went for a walk again and prayed the same prayer again. He walked again the day after that and the day after that. His prayers got longer and he got stronger in body, soul and spirit. He looks back on that first walk and his "cry of the heart" and says "That's where I found strength in the Lord my God."

Finding strength isn't often accompanied with bright light, music and instant triumphant faith. It's often just the dogged courage to take one more step and know that God will be there with us.

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