Caveman

“When my spirit faints within me, you know my way…” (Ps. 142:3)

You may not be in a cave somewhere in ancient Palestine like David was when he wrote these words, but maybe you are experiencing times when you feel completely overwhelmed, to the point where you are ready to “pass out,” spiritually speaking. You find yourself exhausted, walking through the dry seasons of the soul, enduring attacks by the enemy and your own inner “demons.” Now, alone in your own “cave“of despair, it seems like you have lost your way. Promises and expectations lie shattered at your feet, and you don’t know the way to go.

Sadly, often at times like these, the ones we turn to for comfort only offer trite, ready made responses like, “Brother, you know the Bible says…” or “Sister, you just need to have faith.” Frankly, that’s the last thing we want to hear, and it does little if any good. I wish I had the magic answers for you. I wish I could provide you with an easy path out of your cave, but I can’t. These times hurt deeply, and there’s no wishing them away. But I can tell you that you’re not alone. Many of us are right there with you. And there are people who honestly do love you, and are praying earnestly for you. What’s even better is that Jesus knows exactly where you are- he knows your way.

I know you’re finding it hard to pray right now. You have to make yourself read the Bible, and you feel like such a hypocrite because you feel nothing at all-just going through the motions. But have you considered how precious you are to the Father, how his heart is filled with compassion for you as he sees you continue to cry out to him though he seems millions of miles away. Can you comprehend that although you desperately plead for this to all be over, God is with you even as he was with Jesus as blood oozed from his pores when he struggled in the garden of Gethsemane? Where you are is excruciating, but it will result in a deeper understanding of God’s faithfulness and love for you. I know it’s hard to believe right now, but you’ve never been as near or dear to the Lord as you are right now. In the cave you’re learning that Jesus is the One who keeps you, not your own strength or your “spirituality.” You won’t be in the cave forever. You are not forgotten. You will come out of the cave refined, renewed and restored, for the Lord knows your way.

Ziklag

“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. But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.” (I Samuel 30:6)

David knew that God had promised that one day he would be king, but now, on the run from King Saul; he and his men were living like bandits. They had left their town of Ziklag, and had gone to try and join the Philistine army (go figure) in battle. When the Philistines refused them, they made their way home only to find that the Amalekites had raided them and taken away everyone in town. Their wives and kids had all been taken captive, and the people considered killing David. You have to admit, that would be enough to at least bum you out a little. “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”

People may not be thinking about stoning you right now, but you may be going through something that has you demoralized and ready to give up. Perhaps you had been cruising along, enjoying victory after victory in Jesus, when BAM!! You wake up to find your whole world has changed. Or maybe, it’s just a series of things that has you bewildered, unsure of what to do or where to go, and you’ve gotten really depressed. I know I’ve been there, and I still go there too. I think there’s something we can learn from David. “But David strengthened himself in the LORD his God.”

I don’t think David got all psyched up doing some kind of positive confession mumbo-jumbo, telling himself that he was the head and not the tail, blessed and highly favored, above and not beneath  or anything like that. Notice, the Bible says he strengthened himself in the Lord. David didn’t try to pump himself up by telling himself how awesome he was, I believe that he began to recall how awesome God is. I think David remembered the faithfulness that God had shown him throughout his life. He recalled the victories and the hardships of the past, remembering that his faithful Shepherd had not once abandoned him, even in the valley of the shadow of death. Perhaps he even pulled out his “guitar” and worshiped the Lord, singing of His beauty and steadfast love. And as David waited before God, and allowed the Spirit of God to restore him and cause his faith to rise; he was strengthened in the Lord. He was able to believe that God was still with him, and able to deliver him out of his trouble. And that same God is able to deliver you my friend! In times of trial, the enemy wants you to give up or find consolation in a bottle or drugs or whatever, but your strength lies in the Lord my dear brother and sister. No matter what loss you have suffered, no matter how dark it is around you right now, no matter if those closest to you have begun to doubt you; God will give you strength.

In I Samuel 30, David strengthened himself in the Lord (v6), and then inquired of God as to how he should respond to the situation (vv7-9). The Lord did not disappoint! David and his men were able to rescue their families and return home safely. Don’t give up or give in my friend. Instead go, strengthen yourself in the Lord. I know it’s hard, but get up right now and go pray! Go and seek the face of God, for you are dear to Him.